Moscow, Russia. In a further sign of the poor state of US-Russian relations, the United States simply skipped a key conference in Moscow related to peace efforts in Afghanistan, a place where US forces daily fight for their lives against terrorists and local natives seeking a nation free of American occupation forces.
The Trump administration’s decision not to attend is yet another sign of the increasingly icy relationship between Washington and Moscow. The meeting comes just after the US bombed ISIS targets in Afghanistan with the largest bomb in the US non nuclear inventory.
Despite receiving an invitation, the Trump administration did not attend Friday’s meeting in the Russian capital aimed at facilitating peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Conference participants are expected to include representatives from Pakistan, Iran, India, China and several other central Asian nations.
Representatives of NATO nations and the United Nations will not be in attendance. Underscoring a very real division in how western and eastern stakeholders are becoming further distanced in their relations.
In the US State Department press briefing on Thursday, spokesperson Mark Toner cited skepticism of the conference aims as the reason for the United States lack of participation. “I think just to end it, we just felt that these talks, it was unclear to us what the purpose was,” Toner told the assembled press. “It seemed to be a unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region that we felt wasn’t constructive at this time,” he further stated.
Washington’s pass on the conference invitation, came amid rapidly deteriorating relations between the US and Russia, due in large part to US President Donald Trump’s order to fire 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base also used by Russian forces in support of Syrian President Assad.