Aside from the misleading headline, nothing in the report, including the video itself, suggests any credible link between the Taliban arms and Russia.
On July 26, 2017, CNN published a report by Nick Paton Walsh and Masoud Popalzaiit suggesting that Russia may be arming the Taliban. The following are annotated excerpts from that report. Enjoy!
The Taliban have received improved weaponry in Afghanistan that appears to have been supplied by the Russian government, according to exclusive videos obtained by CNN…
After reading this first sentence, you’d expect CNN to show you footage of Russian made weapons in the hands of the Taliban fighters, right? Yeah, that’s not what the video shows.
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.
Wait a minute, if these weapons are stripped of any means of identifying their origin, why is CNN suggesting to us that they are supplied by Russia in the first place?
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.
Ahh, it’s because the Taliban said so, and that seems to be good enough for CNN. If you actually stop and think about it for a moment, why would the Taliban tell anyone, especially news reporters, where they get their weapons?
The videos don’t provide incontrovertible proof of the trade, of which Moscow has categorically denied involvement. Yet they offer some of the first battlefield evidence of a flow of weapons that has the Afghan and American governments deeply concerned…
First battlefield evidence of a flow of weapons to the Taliban? Really? Then what have they been fighting with for the past 20+ years? It’s worth reminding our readers about Operation Cyclone, a CIA program to arm and finance the Jihadi warriors, mujahideen, in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 against the Soviet Union. In 1988 these US-sponsored mujahideen would form Al-Qaeda and in 1994 the Taliban.
“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…Another Afghan official said they were sure that trade was happening between Russia and the Taliban.
So here we have some Afghan government officials pointing the finger at Russia, yet failing to provide any evidence of arms deals. Keep in mind that these same officials are known to be openly funding the Taliban, including with the help of US-taxpayer money. As for the Russians, here is what they actually said:
CNN published videos demonstrating some small arms as “evidence” of the alleged links between Russia and the Taliban. Its journalists admit themselves that it is absolutely impossible to establish the origin of these arms because the brands of their producers are totally absent and serial numbers removed.
Moreover, the arms shown on the video are standard. It is common knowledge that they were produced both in Russia and other East European countries. It is also widely known that in the early 2000s the Americans themselves brought them from East European countries directly to Afghanistan on a mass scale.
We would like to emphasize again that Russia does not support the Taliban. But we are working to implement a relevant resolution of the UN Security Council. This resolution was adopted at the proposal of the Afghan Government and provides for the Taliban’s inclusion in the political process provided it recognizes the current Constitution of Afghanistan, renounces violence and stops cooperating with terrorists.
We would like to remind “experts” from CNN that the Taliban is part of the population of Afghanistan and it is hard to imagine that the conflict can be ended without them, especially considering the ruins the country was left in by the NATO forces that did not resolve a single issue in the decade they were there. Quite the contrary, during their “work” the terrorist and drug threats have substantially grown in Afghanistan – ISIS has appeared while local drug production increased more than ten times.