It’s not a secret that Russian troops, at the height of the cold war, fought militants backed by the U.S. in Afghanistan. Today, in a world witnessing the “new Cold War,” a renowned U.S. general is bent on proving that the situation may be reversed. The allegation stirs the tension even further, given it has been spoken out at a time where America is pointing its finger at Russia, with claims that the Putin-led country is responsible for tampering with the presidential elections last year.

Army General Curtis Scaparrotti said Thursday that he had witnessed Russian influence on Afghan Taliban insurgents, raising the probability that Moscow is sending supplies to militants, whose goal is to expand all the way to southern Afghanistan.

"I've seen the influence of Russia of late — increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban," he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Scaparrotti, who also serves as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, failed to disclose specifics or details on the nature of supplies Russia is allegedly providing the militants. The army general also did not mention the weight of Russia’s influence.

Russia denies accusations

Moscow has been critical of the U.S. over “meddling” with the war in Afghanistan, where it fought a disastrous and bloody war of its own from 1979 to 1988. Russian officials have denied the allegations, saying that their contacts in Afghanistan are solely for negotiations alone and not to provide aid to the insurgents.

"These fabrications are designed, as we have repeatedly underlined, to justify the failure of the US military and politicians in the Afghan campaign," said Zamir Kabulov, head of the Russian ministry's department.

Insurgents: growing in numbers

Taliban fighters have so far expanded to the district of Sangin in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, U.S.

officials reported Thursday. According to estimates, almost half of the country is now under the control of militants, with aims to reinstate Islamic law after its demise in 2001.

Scaparrotti said that more than 1,800 American troops have fallen since the fighting broke out in 2001. Stakes were high; he pointed out, later adding, “NATO and the United States, in my view, must win in Afghanistan."

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