Russia has revealed that it is sharing intelligence with the Taliban in its war against ISIS.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, stated that the communication between Moscow and the Taliban in Afghanistan only goes as far as intelligence sharing with regards ISIS.
US Lt. General Mark Hertling explained that ISIS gains in Afghanistan concern Putin as the war-torn country borders former Soviet republics such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. It is estimated that ISIS have up to 3000 operatives in Afghanistan currently.
The Taliban issued a statement on Friday outright denying any contact with the Russian government, further confusing the matter. They stated that they have had no communication with, and require no assistance from any foreign party.
Analysts have chalked this up to internal fractures and splits within the organization, with the possibility that a breakdown in communication between rival groups within the Taliban.
The Taliban has seen increasing in-fighting and splintering in recent times, with leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour shot in early December during one such dispute. The leader later revealed an audio recording proving he had not died in the incident.
The rise of ISIS in Afghanistan is of concern not only to Russia, but to the US and others fighting against the Islamic terror group.