Exclusive: Another part of the U.S. mainstream media’s rash of Russia-bashing is to claim that Moscow is arming Afghanistan’s Taliban, but again the evidence doesn’t match the accusations, writes Jonathan Marshall.
By Jonathan Marshall
News flash: The United States is supplying spiffy new Humvees and Ford Ranger pickup trucks to the Taliban, who brazenly parade their troops in those vehicles “without fear of being targeted by Afghan or Coalition forces,” according to a senior fellow at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
As Bill Poggio observed in the foundation’s Long War Journal, “The Taliban displayed their military power in the contested district of Bakwa in a newly released video titled From the Fronts of Farah. The video which was released on the Taliban’s propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, ‘is dedicated to . . . showcasing the strength, control and advances of the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate,’ according to an accompanying statement.”
Poggio concluded, more reasonably than I suggest in my opening sentence, that the trucks displayed in the Taliban video were “captured from Afghan Army and police units,” not ordered directly by the Afghan insurgents out of a Pentagon catalog.
But U.S. officials have not shown the same good sense in their continued, but unsupported, denunciations of Russia for supplying the Taliban with assault rifles and other small arms.
I demolished that canard in a May 29 article. I pointed out that, contrary to a raft of news stories based on Pentagon leaks about Russian backstabbing, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency admitted in a Senate hearing, “I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred” by Russia to the Taliban.
The chairman of NATO’s military committee restated that conclusion in almost the same words just a few days ago. He told reporters in Washington, “I don’t have and I haven’t seen any hard evidence on the delivery of weapons from the Russians to the Taliban.”