>> The Afghan Taliban may have a dangerous new friend in its quest to overthrow the government. Reports of recent meeting with Russian officials have Afghan authorities fretting about deepening ties between the Taliban and Moscow. A relationship that could mean a fresh source of money and weapons for the insurgents.
America's top general in Afghanistan recently echoed these fears calling Russia's influence in the country, malign. Reuters' Josh Smith says officials are now on a knife edge.>> The nightmare scenario for Afghan officials they say is that Russia, which has a very large arms industry and obviously a very muscular military presence in the world, could provide, in the future, Taliban rebels with more advanced weaponry, especially things like anti aircraft weapons which could really change the balance of power in the fight here in Afghanistan.
>> Kabul hasn't produced any evidence of Russian aid yet. But one source says that recent cross border fights by unidentified helicopters and the discovery of brand new Russian made guns are raising concerns Meanwhile Moscow denies it's offering the insurgence anything more than moral support.>> The Russian themselves say that the limited contacts they have with the Taliban are in the interest of pushing them to the negotiating table to conclude some sort of negotiated peace in the future.
The Taliban, meanwhile, told us that Russia's interest here had to do with trying to work towards the removal of US and NATO troops who have been fighting a war here for more than 15 years now.>> A Russia-Taliban cooperation would be a strange reversal of history. Back in the 1980's, it was the Americans who were helping insurgence in their struggle to kick Soviet troops out of the country.