Russia appears to be eyeing up opium addicted former Afghan troops and Taliban in Afghanistan to fight in Ukraine according to reports, reports Reuters.
U.S. President Joe Biden has faced repeated criticism for withdrawing forces from Afghanistan after years of fighting in the country.
The hasty evacuation resulted in troops and equipment being left behind following the collapse of the Afghan government and a rapid takeover by the Taliban.
This meant that Afghan soldiers, who fought alongside the Americans and were trained by them, were left behind in the now turbulent nation.
According to a report by the publication Foreign Policy (FP), which spoke to former officials and commandos, Russia is now attempting to recruit Afghan commandos.
A former senior Afghan security official, who requested anonymity when speaking to the publication, said their integration into the Russian military in Ukraine would be “a game-changer.”
Another former official, who was an Afghan commando officer, said he believed that Russia’s Wagner Group organization was behind the recruitment push.
“I am telling you [the recruiters] are Wagner Group. They are gathering people from all over,” the source said according to the report. “The only entity that recruits foreign troops [for Russia] are Wagner Group, not their army.
“It’s not an assumption. It’s a known fact. They’d be better used by Western allies to fight alongside Ukrainians [though].
“They don’t want to fight for the Russians; the Russians are the enemy. But what else are they going to do?”
The Soviet Union was accused of war crimes and attacks against civilians during the nine year Soviet-Afghan war during the 1980s.
Some commandos have said they have been contacted on WhatsApp and the Signal messaging app, where they were made offers to fight for Russia.
Another military source that spoke to FP highlighted why such offers may be appealing, despite the historic bad blood between Afghanistan and Russia.
“They have no country, no jobs, no future. They have nothing to lose,” the source said of the commandos, according to the report.
“It’s not difficult. They are waiting for work for $3 to $4 a day in Pakistan or Iran or $10 a day in Turkey, and if Wagner or any other intelligence services come to a guy and offers $1,000 to be a fighting man again, they won’t reject it.
“And if you find one guy to recruit, he can get half his old unit to join up because they are like brothers, and pretty soon, you’ve got a whole platoon.”
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