Amid US' Afghanistan uncertainty, Russia resurrects interest
WASHINGTON - As America's 16-year war in Afghanistan drags on, Russia is resurrecting its own interest in the "graveyard of empires." The jockeying includes engaging the Taliban and leading a new diplomatic effort to tackle Afghanistan's future, all while Washington leaves the world guessing on its strategy for ending the conflict.
Uncertain of Moscow's intentions, the Trump administration will stay away when Russia hosts regional powers for another set of Afghan talks next month. Afghanistan's government is attending. No one has invited the Taliban.
For Russia, which occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, it's a surprising turn at the head of the country's proverbial peace table. For the U.S., it may represent another worrying consequence of a perceived American retrenchment under President Donald Trump.