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Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan: US in Dilemma Over Anti-Russia Sanctions

Gen John W Nicholson, Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, admits that Western sanctions against Moscow have weakened the fight in Afghanistan.

This undated photo shows a Russian-made MI-17 Pakistan Army helicopter landing in Islamabad, Pakistan - Sputnik International
Afghan Authorities to Do 'Everything Possible' to Free Taliban's Russian Hostage
During an interaction at the India Foundation, a Delhi based independent research center, Gen Nicholson said that getting spare parts for Russian aircraft and military hardware currently operational in Afghanistan has become difficult due to western sanctions on Russia, thus affecting the ongoing fight against terror. Gen Nicholson urged India to supply the spare parts to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Army Chief General Qadam Shah Shamim is likely to visit India this month to seek active defense cooperation, and to boost the supply of more Russian made helicopters like Mi-25 and Mi-35 to Afghanistan. Last year in December, India agreed to supply four Mi-25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan.

"I cannot speak for the Afghan government. But I know that they have requested more and would like more and I think there is an immediate need for more as these aircraft can immediately get into the fight," said Gen John W Nicholson.

Experts say that US strategy in Afghanistan has failed and that it needs to be redrawn. Vishal Chandra, author of The Unfinished War in Afghanistan: 2001-2014, says, "The US’ decade long aid-and- raid approach vis-à- vis Pakistan has had very limited success in terms of destroying terrorist sanctuaries based inside Pakistan. As the security situation deteriorates across Afghanistan, Washington needs to be clear about its long-term strategy towards stabilizing the ‘AfPak’ region. Simply building pressure on Pakistan’s military establishment, without any comprehensive regional security strategy in place, is unlikely to deliver concrete and durable results."

Despite repeated demands by Afghanistan to provide more military equipment to support its fight against terror networks, India seems to have adopted a skeptical approach in its military cooperation with Afghanistan.

"Post-2014, as the Afghan National Army leads the offensive against the well-armed Pakistan-sponsored Haqqani-Taliban network and various pro-Daesh local and foreign militant Islamist groups, it is important that effective steps are taken to further build its capabilities in a planned and sustained manner," suggests Chandra.

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