Defense officials in the Afghan government have admitted this week that Taliban militants have obtained night-vision equipment but would not confirm suspicions that the Russians are furnishing the Taliban with the equipment.
The officials said that an investigation is continuing on the matter of the potential game-changer of high-tech equipment being introduced to Taliban forces were actually provided by Russian contacts.
The New York Times on Monday reported that Taliban militants using sophisticated night-vision goggles killed eight Afghan police officers at a checkpoint near Farah, capital of the province of the same name in western Afghanistan.
That Taliban have access to high-tech weapons has been reported in the media for a while. But the recent allegations of Taliban receiving Russian-made equipment prompted the Afghan government to investigate how the militant group is able to get the technology.
Russian embassy officials in Kabul denied that Moscow has been providing military or financial assistance to Taliban, saying the allegations are baseless.
“This device [goggles] would be installed on rifles. It can prove very dangerous, because it enables its user to see a person at night like a person at daylight. They also have accuracy and precision. Hence, its danger is immense,” Atiqullah Amerkhail, a retired Afghan army general, told VOA.
The Russians, who invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and fought a long guerrilla war until 1989 are being criticized by Kabul for once again interfering with Afghan politics for opening up contacts within the Taliban.
The Russians however, state they are simply trying to restart stalled peace talks between the Taliban and the US-led coalition. US General John Nicholson the commander of US forces in Afghanistan hinted as far back as April that the US was aware of Russian arming of insurgents.
“We continue to get reports of this assistance. We support anyone who wants to help us advance the reconciliation process, but anyone who arms belligerents who perpetuate attacks like the one we saw two days ago in Mazar-e Sharif is not the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation,” Nicholson said.
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