Russia Seeking To Undermine US Reputation In Afghanistan: US Official

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said the new Afghanistan and South Asia strategy of US President Donald Trump is a 'dead end'

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Russia Seeking To Undermine US Reputation In Afghanistan: US Official

Donald Trump recently announced a new Afghanistan and South Asia strategy (File)

Washington:  Russia is seeking to undermine American reputation in Afghanistan and South Asia region, a senior US official has said after Moscow called President Donald Trump's new strategy for Afghanistan as a "dead end".

"Well, I think that Russia's reaction is very predictable. They've been starting some very unhelpful propaganda with regard the US role in Afghanistan. You've probably seen Russian officials trying to claim that the US is supporting ISIS in Afghanistan, which is a fictitious statement," a senior administration official told reporters during a conference call.

The official, who did not want to be identified, was responding to questions on Russian scepticism over Mr Trump's new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had told reporters yesterday in Moscow that the new Afghan strategy is a "dead end". The strategy "puts emphasis on force", he said.

According to the US official, the Russian reaction was predictable. "Unfortunately, I think the Russians have taken a very tactical view here, and they are seeking to undermine our reputation in the region, and so false information about US objectives," the official said.

The official said the Afghan and South Asia strategy is not a military-only strategy, adding there are strong diplomatic, political and economic elements to the strategy.

"So it's just factually incorrect to say that this is a overly militaristic strategy. But it doesn't surprise me because I think the Russians see themselves as competitors for influence in the region, and so there role has not been particularly helpful over the last several months in Afghanistan," the official said.

According to the official, the US thinks that they are genuinely concerned about the ISIS, and this is driving them to consider the support to the Taliban.

"But I think that's a short-sighted policy as well. So they have not been particularly helpful in terms of supporting what the US is trying to do in the region, which is unfortunate," the official added.
 

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