Shocked by Russia supporting the Taliban? You shouldn’t be

In a recent op-ed published in the New York Times, Douglas London, a former CIA officer, writes, “We cannot ignore the bigger picture of America’s Afghanistan policy.”

What is that “bigger picture?” For London, and for others outraged by allegations of Russia offering the Taliban cash for killing U.S. troops, the picture that matters is President Trump’s inexplicable willingness “to abide Russian threats to our troops, our security and our democracy.” London finds the president’s “continuing and calculated war of denial and deception” in the face of these allegations intolerable. Most disturbingly, the president has still “not offered a clear and unambiguous condemnation of such Russian aggression.” And “as any observer of Russia knows,” he writes, “neglecting aggression inevitably invites more of it.”

Of course, “aggression” is very much in the eye of the beholder. From the Taliban’s perspective, the United States is the aggressor.  After all, U.S. troops invaded their country in 2001 and have occupied it since. In an exquisite irony, the United States was following in the footsteps of the Soviet Union, which invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 1979.  

After 9/11, President George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Afghanistan because he deemed the existing regime in Kabul to pose an unacceptable security threat. Roughly two decades earlier, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan for the same reason: because Kremlin leaders deemed the existing regime in Kabul a threat to Soviet security.  \

Read the full article in The American Conservative.