Is Russia betting on the Taliban?

As a new Afghanistan strategy is expected from the Trump administration next week, Islamist violence continues to test the limits of the Afghan government’s security apparatus and the advisory role of the US and NATO. In the security vacuum, warring factions seem to operate with impunity.

On Wednesday, the “Islamic State” (IS) claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul that killed at least eight Afghan civilians and wounded 28, including three US service members.

The Taliban, which has opposed IS in Afghanistan, has also been steadily making territorial gains and stepping up attacks on Afghan security forces.