WASHINGTON: Russia, Pakistan and Iran are malign actors in Afghanistan because they ‘enable’ the insurgents fighting the Kabul government, says a report by an official US watchdog, quoting senior US military officials who raised this issue in recent congressional hearings.
In a report released on Sunday evening, the US government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) notes that in the last quarter — January to April 2017 — a “shockingly high” number of official Afghan troops were killed in clashes with the militants. As many as 807 troops from the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces died between Jan 1 and Feb 24.
The report, however, indicates that the renewed Russian involvement in Afghanistan was even more shocking for the US military than an unprecedented increase in attacks on both Afghan and American troops.
“This quarter, Russia appeared to step up its involvement in Afghanistan,” claims the report, while noting that on Dec 2 last year, Gen John W. Nicholson Jr., the Commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, “labelled Russia, Pakistan, and Iran as malign actors that enable insurgent or terrorist groups in Afghanistan”.