Small Wars Journal

Kremlin’s Comeback: Thirty Years After the Soviet Union’s Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan, Moscow Wants Back In.

Kremlin’s Comeback: Thirty Years After the Soviet Union’s Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan, Moscow Wants Back In. By Missy Ryan and Amie Ferris-Rotman – Washington Post

Russia has been cultivating ties with the Taliban to increase its influence in Afghanistan three decades after Moscow’s humiliating defeat there helped hasten the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Russian engagement with the militants drew attention, and some flak, when the Kremlin invited Taliban representatives to Moscow for a meeting in September. That invitation was rescinded — at least temporarily — after the Afghan government objected, saying it must take the lead in any talks.

But the diplomatic kerfuffle laid bare the Kremlin’s effort to reassert itself in Afghanistan, an initiative that has included discreet contacts with Taliban leaders and a military buildup along the country’s northern edge.

Moscow has also sought to reclaim its role as regional power broker, convening secret discussions with the United States, Iran, Pakistan, India and China and seeking to ensure any finale to the conflict suits Russian interests…

Read on.


Based on the information that I provide in my comment below, one might discern that Russia's interactions with the Taliban today -- much like the U.S./the Wests interactions with the Muj during the Old Cold War --

In both such cases, these such efforts were/are designed more to:  

a.  Contain and/or roll back one's great power (expansionist and "world transformation-"driven) opponent. 

(To wit:  The opponent that poses, by far, the greatest threat/challenge to one's own nation and/or regime.)   And to, thereby:  

b.  Ultimately bring about the demise of one's such -- by far most threatening -- opponent. 


a.  Wish to know why Russia is interacting with the Taliban now? Then:

b.  Look no further than our current New/Reverse Cold War conflict environment (the U.S./the West now doing "expansion;" Russia, et. al, now doing "containment" and/or "roll back.")

"Differing from the previous Tsarist regional empire and the Soviet globalist one, the new Russian foreign policy has a more pragmatic goal. It aims to build different types of buffer zones against NATO encroachment to the West and U.S. counter-terrorism efforts in Central Asia."… (See the first paragraph under the major heading: "How We Fight: Shape, Deter, Defeat.")


Bill C.

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:01pm

From our article above:

"It is part of a strategy, analysts said, to protect Russia’s southern flank from the Islamic State’s emergence in Central Asia and hedge against the possibility of an abrupt U.S. exit from Afghanistan after 17 years of war."

Negative. I believe one is definitely on the wrong track if this is what one is thinking. 

Herein, to suggest that, in the alternative, 

a.  Containing the Islamic State, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, this IS NOT the primary goal or concern of Russia -- and/or the primary goal of Russian grand strategy.  Rather,

b.  Containing the U.S./the West; THIS is what Russia's efforts -- in Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the world -- are designed to achieve.

Thus, it is as per Russia's such "turn about is fair play" thesis that Russia -- via its "containment" and/or "roll back" strategy versus the U.S./the West today -- seeks to, in the end, 

a.  Do to the U.S./the West in the current era,

b.  Exactly what the U.S./the West did to the Soviet Union in the Old Cold War.  (To wit: Bring about the U.S./the West's demise.)