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Why Russia is Building Relations With the Taliban? 4 Reasons to Understand the New Russian Foreign Policy.

Updated on April 20, 2017
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After the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Washington backed insurgency played a decisive role in the dissolution of Soviet Union. Russian war machine was scrapped in Afghanistan and its communist economy was completely dismantled until it announced a transition from closed market to open market economy. President Boris Yeltsin was considered to be the architect of modern Russian democracy in the early 90s.


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The successor of Mr. Yeltsin Mr. Vladimir Putin emerged as the game changer. He played a leading role in the renaissance of Russia as a world power. This era is being termed as the awakening of the white, snow bear. Russia was hesitant to support the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The reasons Russia remained neutral were very diplomatic and natural. Taliban over-ran the Russian-backed Northern alliance led by Ahmad Shah Masood, an ethnic Tajik warlord, and captured Kabul in 1996. Taliban claimed to have arrested the Russian advisors who were closely cooperating with the anti-Taliban alliance.

Taliban also captured Russian weapons and displayed these weapons to the media time and again. Until the fall of Taliban in 2001, Taliban and Russia became the first enemies of each other. After the establishment of US-backed Afghan Government under the leadership of Hamid Karzai, Taliban fought a long battle for 16 years until now. The current scenario of the middle east deeply affected the Afghan war. The emergence and spread of ISIS or Daesh created many new fronts in the war against terror. There are 4 main reasons for Russian support for the Taliban and change in foreign policy.

  1. Common enemy:
    When ISIS announced its Afghan chapter, the ISIS in Khurasan, Russia was already fighting the ISIS in Syria with dedicated resources and military power. With the announcement of ISIS in Afghanistan, the war theater dramatically changed. ISIS is a common enemy of all other forces fighting in Afghanistan including the US. This situation was alarming for Russia and she decided to strengthen the already established links with the Taliban. Recently, a top NATO general from the US has blamed Russia for supplying sophisticated weapons to the Taliban. Russia has also established close relations with Pakistan. Last year, Russian commandos conducted joint exercises with their Pakistani counterparts. This was the first time that Russian military visited Pakistan. These were also the very first military exercises between the two forces. Russia has also promised to provide Pakistan 4 Mi 35 attack helicopters. Pakistani warships visited the Russian Navy ports in Russia for the first time in history. These relations point to the fact that Russian policy makers have recognized the future role of Pakistan. China has played a vital role in bringing Pakistan and Russia together.

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2. Revenge of Soviet Union:
Russia has got an opportunity by winning the trust of Taliban leadership. Russian policy makers see this relationship as an opportunity to take the revenge of collapse of Soviet Union. Taliban need their modern war technology. Taliban will also benefit from the backing of world super power that is too against their common enemy, the US. Both the forces want to defeat ISIS on Afghan soil. Both the parties are not satisfied with the present Afghan government.

3. Taliban is the future of Afghanistan

Keeping in view the efforts of US and Afghan governments to convince the Taliban for dialogue, Russia has realized that Taliban are going to play a decisive and leading role in the future setup of Afghanistan. US struggle for talks with the Taliban will convince Russia to take a lead and win their trust. recently, Russia has offered to host a peace conference between the all the parties in the Afghan conflict including the Taliban.

4. Economic Development and Prosperity
Mineral rich and strategically important geography has made Afghanistan a focal point for the world powers. Vast reserves of minerals and other carbon fuels have been discovered in Afghanistan. These resources can be offered for investment only with the consent of Taliban either in power or not. All the world powers would like to win the confidence of Taliban for ensuring a share in the future Afghan development and rich resources.

Taliban-Russia Relations

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    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 4 months ago from New Delhi, India

      I am not sure why would you back a terrorist regime to become kingmaker. Russia for sure has had her lessons from the Soviet era in Afghanistan and are fully aware of the Pakistan and US influence in supporting the rebellion thenand not much has changed now. Ofcourse their re-entry into the scence is nothing more than an act of balancing power in the region. Also that way they can keep ISIS contained, whom they are already fighting in Syria. Funny thing is both Taliban and ISIS are US creations and both are backed by Pakistan.

      Anyways Soviet too was the agressor then and the karma served them well. But then what's more important is what followed post their departure as the financed mujahideens re-arrived on the scene as Taliban - a force to reckon with and toppled the govt. and wrecked havoc in the region. Whether Afghan Taliban or the Pakistan Taliban, are nothing but terrorist entities organising coups, sucide bombings and killing innocent civilians.

      Lets also not forget that India is also an involved party now in Afghanistan, perhaps a more responsible stakeholder too that has tremendously contributed in post war rehabilitaion work.