More than 15 years into America's war in Afghanistan, the Russian government is openly advocating on behalf of the Taliban.
Last week, Moscow hosted Chinese and Pakistani emissaries to discuss the war. Tellingly, no Afghan officials were invited. However, the trio of nations urged the world to be “flexible” in dealing with the Taliban, which remains the Afghan government's most dangerous foe. Russia even argued that the Taliban is a necessary bulwark in the war against the so-called Islamic State.
For its part, the American military sees Moscow's embrace of the Taliban as yet another move intended to undermine NATO, which fights the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State every day.
After Moscow's conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova spoke with reporters and noted that “the three countries expressed particular concern about the rising activity in the country of extremist groups, including the Afghan branch of IS [the Islamic State, or ISIS].”