Late last month in “Russia’s Mid-East Takeover Continues As Afghanistan Requests Military Assistance From Moscow,” we noted, with some amusement, that Kabul was set to request a weapons delivery from Russia to aid in the fight against the Taliban. “Afghanistan, battered by worsening security, is reaching out to an old ally and patron—Russia—just as the Kremlin is seeking to reassert its position as a heavyweight on the world stage,” WSJ reported, on the way to detailing a request from President Ashraf Ghani who “asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s struggling military.”
The request came just a little over a week after President Obama canceled plans to bring the majority of American troops still stationed in Afghanistan home. Under Obama’s previous plan, Washington would withdraw most of the 9,800 troops operating in the country by the end of next year, leaving a force of just 1,000. Now, all 9,800 troops will remain for “most” of next year and 5,500 troops will remain in 2017. The official reason for the about face is that a resurgent Taliban now controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any other time since 2001.