When the New York Times broke the story about Russian forces paying the Taliban to target US and coalition troops in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump declared that he knew nothing about this and alleged that the story is fake news. What, then, could the United States government do in response to Russia’s dangerous escalation? In a piece published by The Hill, CTEC Director Jason Blazakis takes on this complicated issue and assesses the US’s options.
Blazakis argues that any policy decision will need Congressional action, due to the President’s intransigence on this issue. A kinetic response against Russia’s proxies worldwide, such as the Wagner Group, is certainly possible, but would risk further escalation, he explains. The better option is to use measured instruments of leverage, such as targeted sanctions, to attempt to pressure Russia into backing down from their stance in Afghanistan.