Taliban claims to use Russian-issued weapons

Taliban leader claims Russia supplying terrorist group weapons through Iran.

Gary Willig,

Taliban fighter
Taliban fighter

Two groups of Taliban fighters claimed to use weapons supplied by Russia, CNN reported Tuesday.

Russia fought the Mujahideen, the predecessors of the Taliban, in the 1980s. However, US and Afghan officials have claimed that Moscow has supplied weapons to the terrorist organization, further destabilizing war-torn Afghanistan.

Two sets of Taliban forces, one in western Afghanistan and the other in northern part of the country, claimed to have received the weapons from Russian government sources in two videos obtained by CNN.

The videos show the Taliban forces using sniper rifles, Kalashnikov variants and heavy machine guns allegedly provided by Russia.

“These weapons were given to the fighters of Mullah Haibatullah by the Russians via Iran,” said the deputy leader of one of the Taliban forces, Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi.

Moscow has categorically denied any involvement in the transfer of weapons to the Taliban.

"The Russians have said that they maintain contact with the Taliban, we have lots of other reports from other people they are arming the Taliban ... there is no smoke without fire," Afghan government spokesman Sediq Sediqi said. "That's why our intelligence agencies are up to the job to find out what level of support that is to the Taliban."

Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of US Central Command, told a congressional committee in March he believed the Russians were seeking to expand their influence in Afghanistan.

"I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban] in terms of weapons or other things that may be there," Gen. Votel told the committee.