Due to the huge losses of personnel during the aggression against Ukraine, Russia is forced to replenish its Armed Forces with foreign troops
According to Foreign Policy, Moscow is recruiting Afghan fighters who have previously been trained by the West.
Afghan fighters recruitment
Over a 20-year period, the US and UK spent $90 billion training the Afghan National Army Commando Corps, yet they abandoned up to 30,000 personnel when the Taliban retook control last year. According to various Afghan military and security officials, Russia’s clandestine mercenary Wagner Group, which has close links to President Vladimir Putin, is now communicating with unemployed troops via WhatsApp and Signal.
Turkmen fighters recruitment
In addition, cases of recruitment of foreigners from Turkmenistan into the Russian armed forces and PMC Wagner have become quite widespread.
The Turkmen authorities responded to the Kremlin’s actions by banning Turkmen citizens from joining military formations to participate in hostilities in Ukraine as volunteers or mercenaries.
“I can tell you [the recruiters] are from the Wagner Group.” They’re bringing in individuals from all around. Western friends would be better off using [the Afghan commandos] to fight with Ukrainians. They don’t want to fight for the Russians since they are the enemy. But what else are they going to do,” one ex-official told Foreign Policy.
According to a former high ranking Afghan security source, officials are fearful that as many as 10,000 men trained by the SAS and Navy Seals may be eager to fight in Russia’s “foreign legion,” which would be a “game-changer.” Despite the fact that many people still consider Russia as the adversary as a result of the horrific Soviet-Afghan War, the soldiers are in a grave predicament.
Following the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021, the abandoned commandos went into hiding or fled to neighboring nations to avoid retribution. According to one ex-captain in hiding, troops are being linked with recruiters in Iran before being flown to Tehran and then to Russia.
The United States and the United Kingdom were criticized for leaving behind well-trained soldiers, with Republican Michael McCaul claiming that this would expose the troops to recruiting by opposing forces. With Moscow in a grave situation on the battlefield and its leaders under fire for the hugely unpopular mass mobilization law, Russia has found an opportunity to recruit well-trained but desperate warriors.
Russia is developing relations with the Taliban
Russia is seizing possibilities in Afghanistan that few others are ready to consider. Last month, Moscow approved a preliminary agreement to give the Taliban with discounted oil, gas, and wheat, making it the first government to reach an international commercial agreement with the Taliban.
However, despite the Taliban’s continued status as a terrorist organization, Russia decided to accept a Taliban representation in Moscow, and the Kremlin has been actively attempting to restore relations with Kabul. Russia is undoubtedly interested in establishing a southern commercial and transit corridor via Central Asia to access huge markets in South Asia, as well as Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in natural resource endowments.