Four-star Gen. Joseph Votel told Congress that it is “fair to assume” Russia is providing support to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
“I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world,” the four-star General and CENTCOM Commander said on Thursday.
“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. I believe what Russia is … attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world,” he continued.
The statement came just one week after the head of the U.S. military’s European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO made similar allegations while addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I’ve seen the influence of Russia of late, increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban,” Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said.
Votel also stated that he does not consider any of Russia’s actions to be “helpful” to U.S. goals in Afghanistan. The comments come as the Trump administration is attempting to devise a long-term blueprint for U.S. military involvement in the Afghan War.