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Moscow supports Taliban to keep IS at bay: Kohistani

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By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Russia by supporting the Taliban militants was trying to prevent the Islamic State (IS) fighters from entering Central Asia, said a military analyst.

Jawed Kohistani in an interview with Afghanistan Times warned that Russia’s support for the Taliban militants would complicate war in Afghanistan.

A Russian diplomat recently said that his country has established communication channels to exchange intelligence information with the Taliban to fight against the IS fighters in Afghanistan.

Kohistani said that the Taliban militants were enjoying close ties with Russia over the past years. He added that the Taliban was sharing intelligence information with Russia to receive financial support. “Russia by giving financial support to the Taliban want to prevent the militant group from joining IS,” he said.

He criticized policy of the government and said that the false policies had turned Afghanistan into battle ground for proxy wars.

Zamir Kabulov, a department chief at Russia’s Foreign Ministry and President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy on Afghanistan in an interview with Interfax news agency on Wednesday said that Russia has established communication channels to exchange information with the Taliban.

He said that Russia has opened communication channels in a bid to exchange information with the Taliban who are fighting against (ISIS) in Afghanistan.

“Russia’s interests in Afghanistan “objectively coincide” with those of the Taliban movement in the fight against Islamic State,” Kabulov said.

Kabulov also said that both Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have said that they don’t recognize IS leader. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, as caliph.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova in a contact by AFP confirmed Kabulov’s remarks. “It has to do with fighting the Islamic State group,” she said.

There have been numerous deadly clashes among the Taliban militants and the loyalists of ISIS terror group during the recent months amid major differences in the ideology of the two groups.

At least 16 militants were killed and several others wounded in the latest clash between ISIS and Taliban militants in Chaparhar district of eastern Nangarhar province earlier this month.

Due to fear of IS fighters presence in Central Asian countries,  in the last three months Russia has been busy to ramp up its military forces in Tajikistan and equipped its military bases near Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, by helicopters.

This comes at a time that Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting with his Tajik threat for Afghanistan but also for the entire region.