10:14 GMT27 January 2020
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    The US Department of Defense is unable to comment on reports of alleged Russia's weapons supplies to the Taliban (banned in Russia) in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a briefing on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, CNN claimed that it had exclusive videos purporting to show that the Taliban had allegedly received weaponry in Afghanistan which appeared to have been supplied by Russia, however, presented no proof. According to CNN, two separate Taliban groups say they got hold of weapons, which were allegedly supplied by the Russian government. One group said it took the weapons after defeating a rival group, while the other claims it got pistols for free that were smuggled through Tajik border. Experts say the weapons have no identification markings hence it is impossible to trace their origins.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the claims that Russia was supplying arms to the Taliban movement are groundless.

    "We have certainly seen the reports," Davis told reporters. "We are not able to comment on our assessment whether they are true or not, but certainly any effort to arm a group like that would be destabilizing."

    Earlier, US and Afghan officials accused Russia of supporting the Taliban. Moscow denounced the claim, calling it utterly false. The Kremlin said that these accusations are made to cover up US failures in Afghanistan and noted that it maintains contact with the terrorist group only to promote peace talks.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that Moscow is only working with the Taliban in order to assist the implementation of a UN Security Council decision requested by the Afghan government that would allow the group to take a role in the political process. Lavrov also called accusations from the United States that it is supplying the Taliban with weapons baseless and unprofessional.

    Earlier, Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart said in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee said that there was no evidence Russia had transferred weapons or money to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Taliban is an Islamist terror organization that seeks to establish a strict Sharia law in Afghanistan.

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    Tags:
    arms supplies, Taliban, Russia, United States, Afghanistan
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