The United States has been claiming for months that the Russians, once bitter enemies of the Taliban, have been arming them attempting to undermine US efforts in the war-torn country. Now videos are surfacing that give rise to those accusations by the US.

The Russians have flatly denied the allegation as “utterly false” and claim that the US is just trying to pin blame on Moscow for a failure by the United States.

US generals first suggested they were concerned the Russian government was seeking to arm the Afghan insurgents back in April, but images from the battlefield here corroborating these claims have been hard to come by.

These two videos show sniper rifles, Kalashnikov variants and heavy machine guns that weapons experts say are stripped of any means of identifying their origin.

Two separate sets of Taliban, one in the north and another in the west, claim to be in possession of the weapons, which they say were originally supplied by Russian government sources. One splinter group of Taliban near Herat say they obtained the guns after defeating a mainstream rival group of Taliban. Another group say they got the weapons for free across the border with Tajikistan and that they were provided by “the Russians.”

“The Russians have said that they maintain contact with the Taliban, we have lots of other reports from other people they are arming the Taliban … there is no smoke without fire,” Afghan government spokesman Sediq Sediqi said. “That’s why our intelligence agencies are up to the job to find out what level of support that is to the Taliban.”

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Another Afghan official said they were sure that trade was happening between Russia and the Taliban.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment for this article but has previously called claims they are arming the Taliban “utterly false” and said they were made to cover up for the United States’ failure in Afghanistan. The Russians talk to the Taliban purely to promote peace talks, they said.

US officials have long voiced concerns about any weapons flow to the terror group. Asked in April whether he would refute the reports Russia was arming the Taliban, the US commander here, Gen. John Nicholson, said: “Oh, no I’m not refuting that… Arming belligerents or legitimizing belligerents who perpetuate attacks … is not the best way forward.”

Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of US Central Command, told a congressional committee in March he believed the Russians were seeking influence in Afghanistan.

“The Russians have said that they maintain contact with the Taliban, we have lots of other reports from other people they are arming the Taliban … there is no smoke without fire,” Afghan government spokesman Sediq Sediqi said. “That’s why our intelligence agencies are up to the job to find out what level of support that is to the Taliban.”

It is well-believed in the US government that the Russians love to tweak the Americans at every turn. Even after their own defeat at the hands of the Taliban, the Russians are taking this countering America to a new level. While the weapons themselves are not positive proof that Moscow has taken to arming the Taliban, the signs are there to at least give some credence to the US’ claims.

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia