Russia and Iran have been exerting influence inside Afghanistan, in an attempt to legitimize the Taliban over the NATO-led coalition in the fight against ISIS, a move officials say is causing more instability in the region. “Russia has overly lent legitimacy to the Taliban,” said Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. “And their narrative goes something like this: that the Taliban are the ones fighting the Islamic State, not the Afghan government.” However, Nicholson said, in reality, “the Afghan government and the US counterterrorism effort are the ones achieving the greatest effect against Islamic State.” These Russian statements are “not based on fact,” but instead are a way to try to undermine NATO and the Afghan government. Iran, as well, has made similar statements. Eighty seven percent of the total Afghan population opposes Taliban rule. “So when these external actors, be it Russia or Iran, publicly legitimize a movement that’s not supported by the people, they’re not advancing the cause of stability in the region.”
Sept. 27, 2022
As the Air Force moves forward with its efforts to operationalize the concept of agile combat employment, leaders need to embrace an iterative approach that builds on itself, recognizing that ACE may never be fully complete, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.