Russia gave the Taliban "the finger" when the Islamist Afghan regime proposed in 2001 that Russia join in an anti-U.S. alliance, former Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told BBC in a documentary broadcast on Thursday.
In the first episode of the four-part BBC documentary, “Putin, Russia & the West,” Ivanov, who headed the Defense Ministry in 2001-2007, said that several days after the start of the 2001 NATO’s military operation in Afghanistan, the Taliban proposed that Russia unite in the effort against the United States.
“The Taliban contacted our frontier guards on the Tajik-Afghan border,” Ivanov said. “They said they had been sent by Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar to propose that the Taliban and Russia unite against the United States.”
“It was a proposal that we rejected with a well-known American hand signal: 'F… off,'" Ivanov said.
In the documentary, which features interviews with senior Russian and foreign officials, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that during the first meeting between then-president Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart George Bush in 2001, three months prior to 9/11, Putin warned Bush that the U.S. would be targeted in the nearest future since Pakistan directly supported Afghan Taliban militants.