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‘Pakistan trying to change Russia, Iran mentality on Taliban’

‘Pakistan trying to change Russia, Iran mentality on Taliban’

Dec 04, 2016 - 16:09

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Pakistaninfo-icon has been trying to change Russia’s and Iran’s perception about Talibaninfo-icon, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) says.

MoI spokesman Sediq Seddeqi told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview on Sunday that NATOinfo-icon’s Resolute Support commander in Afghanistaninfo-icon Gen. John Nicholson had recently told a Pentagon briefing that Russia and Iran supported Taliban in the war-torn country.

Gen. Nicholson denounced Russia and Iran during the Pentagon briefing on Friday, charging the two nations were “legitimizing” the Taliban inside Afghanistan.

“Russia has overtly lent legitimacy to the Taliban,” Nicholson told reporters. “This public legitimacy that Russia lends to the Taliban is not based on fact, but it is used as a way to essentially undermine the Afghan government and the NATO effort … so it’s not helpful.”

Shifting to Iran, you have a similar situation. There have been linkages between the Iranians and the Taliban,” said Nicholson.

Referring to Russia, the general explained, “There is a competition with NATO.” He added, “We would like to see a change in their behavior.”

Nicholson also said Pakistan, a longtime U.S. ally, was lending support to the Taliban, which has launched a string of deadly attacks in the past week. He also said the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani networkinfo-icon was holding five Americans hostage.

The MoI spokesman said Gen. Nicholson’s account revealed that some circles in neighouring Pakistan were trying to change mentality of Russia and Iran regarding Taliban.

Seddeqi said they were hopeful that Russia and Iran would continue supporting the government and people of Afghanistan the way they had been supporting over the past 16 years.

Recently Russia’s special representative in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, talked about contacts between Moscow and Taliban and his statement drew strong reaction from the National Security Council (NSC), President Ghani’s security team.

The Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon or Senate has called as interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs the contact between Russia and Taliban.

About Gen. Nicholson’s remarks about corruption in Afghan security forces, Seddeqi said the menace remained a challenge. However, he said the MoI leadership and the government had taken some serious steps to fight corruption and had a strong will to eliminate it.

He said some changes had been brought to the anti-corruption campaign and the points Gen. Nicholson had mentioned would be accessed.

He said the system of logistics supply to Afghan forces was disorganized and corruption in security organs prevented timely supply of ration, ammunition and equipment to forces at their posts.




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