Washington wants to take revenge on the Taliban for its defeat, the Russian Foreign Ministry says
The US has been reaching out to armed groups that oppose the Taliban and secretly giving money to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), Zamir Kabulov, Russia's presidential envoy for Afghanistan, has said.
When asked if the US is in contact with the Afghan opposition in an interview with Russia 24 TV on Friday, Kabulov said, "Yes, there is such data."
The Americans have been acting this way "because they really want to avenge their shameful military-political defeat in Afghanistan, and in retaliation they do everything so that peace isn't established in this troubled land," he claimed.
"But worst of all is that, in addition to contacts with the armed opposition in Afghanistan, the Anglo-Saxons are covertly sponsoring Islamic State, who are aimed at undermining not only the stability of our Central Asian partners... but also the security of Russia," Kabulov added.
The US and its allies pulled out of Afghanistan in August 2021 after a two-decade intervention. The chaotic withdrawal, which saw billions of dollars' worth of American military equipment left behind, was carried out after the Taliban swept through the country and captured the capital, Kabul in a matter of weeks, facing little resistance from the Afghan military - which US forces had trained to resist the militants.
The sanctions and the withdrawal of US and other foreign aid to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover have further deepened the humanitarian crisis in the country. Under previous US-backed administrations, this aid accounted for around 75% of the Afghan budget. According to the UN, around 24.4 million people, or more than half of the country's population, are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.
In December, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration's decision to leave Afghanistan, saying that if the American forces remained there, "it would have, I think, made much more complicated the support that we've been able to give and that others have been able to give Ukraine" amid the conflict with Russia.
The US-based Brown University estimated that the invasion of Afghanistan cost Washington more than $2.1 trillion overall. The US Department of Defense said on Thursday that military aid provided to Kiev since the start of the conflict with Moscow last February has surpassed $26.7 billion.