The Russian media is distributing propaganda narratives, according to which the USA will deploy former military of the Afghan armed forces to Ukraine. In fact, the USA has not and will not deploy troops to the territory of Ukraine in the context of the war with Russia.
NEWS: “The USA is preparing to send to Ukraine ex-military of the armed forces of Afghanistan, according to RIA Novosti quoting its own sources. Washington is expected to send some 400 soldiers to military hotspots. The troops will also receive American weapons.
[…] The Afghan National Armed Forces were evacuated to the USA in the summer of 2021 after the Taliban came to power (“Taliban” – a terrorist organization banned on the territory of Russia). Right now, a few thousand people, which once worked at the American military bases in Afghanistan, are living in refugee centers.
According to sources, these former military on the USA’s payroll might be sent off to fight in Ukraine, under threat of deportation from the USA. The soldiers were promised a few-thousand-dollar pay. […] At the moment, Russia is conducting a special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine.
NARRATIVE: The USA is sending to Ukraine Afghan military with combat experience
BACKGROUND: On February 24, Russia launched a war against Ukraine, claiming it is “denazifying” and “demilitarizing” this country. Prior to the invasion, Moscow demanded guarantees Ukraine would never join NATO (although it is its sovereign right) and that NATO will withdraw from NATO members in Eastern Europe. At the same time, for many years Russia has been conducting a disinformation campaign, accusing NATO of planning aggressions against it, despite the fact that the Alliance is a purely defensive organization. Basically, after the Yugoslav Wars (which ended with the intervention of NATO and the West), the only country that continued to threat European security was the Russian Federation. Beyond its military aggression, Russia also launched an information war and tried to destabilize Western societies (by influencing the election process).
At the same time, Russia has imperialist plans in ex-Soviet space, where it supported separatist governments and made efforts to block the democratic processes in former Soviet republics and block their rapprochement to the West. The first invasion of Ukraine was actually launched in 2014, with the ousting of the Yanukovych regime. At the time, in light of Moscow’s pressure, Yanukovych ultimately refused to sign the EU Association Agreement, fled the country, then Ukraine announced it is willing to resume its European integration plans.
In February, Russia attacked Ukraine in overwhelming numbers, but Ukraine managed to repel the attacks, also inflicting serious losses to the invaders. As a result, Russia was forced to recruit Wagner mercenaries, Chechen and Syrian fighters. The Ukrainian army is outnumbered and underequipped, particularly in terms of aviation and artillery. Kyiv has been calling on the international community for support, asking for imposing a no-fly zone that should eliminate the threat of the Russian aircraft. The West, however, cannot risk a conflict with Russia, so it merely offered support by pressing Moscow with sanctions and providing Ukraine with various types of light weapons, munition, humanitarian aid and funds. At the same time, some Western countries have allowed their citizens to volunteer to fight in Ukraine.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this narrative is to convince readers that Ukraine is the stage of a conflict between Russia and the West, particularly the USA, which is mobilizing foreign combatants in order to fight against Russian speakers.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In fact, the USA did not send, nor does it plan on sending any military to Ukraine. The Afghan Armed Forces were mostly disbanded in 2021 after the withdrawal of NATO troops. Afghan military either fled to neighboring states or sided with the Taliban. Some soldiers were evacuated to the USA. At the start of the year, Washington reported that all Afghan soldiers who got evacuated were resettled across the country, and part of them were integrated in American society as part of various government programs.
US president Joe Biden said on a number of occasions that he would not send his army to fight in Ukraine, since this decision could trigger World War III.
There has been no official statement regarding the recruitment of Afghan soldiers or sending military with combat experience in Afghanistan to fight in Ukraine. The topic is presented as real news to Russian audiences, in order to convince the public at home that Moscow is “saving” Russian speakers in Ukraine from “potential aggressors from Afghanistan”.
Last year, the idea of Afghan military units was circulated in the United Kingdom. The brigades would be similar to the Gurkhas, made up of Nepali combatants, but the project was eventually abandoned. In March, 2022, US diplomat Philip S. Kosnett published on the website of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) an article that suggested the setup of an Afghan legion subordinated to the United States army. The diplomat explained there are hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in the USA with a lot of combat experience who need a job. Besides, there is also a shortage of troops at NATO level due to difficulties experienced by member states in attracting volunteers to enroll, whereas Russia’s acts of aggression have proved there is need for additional manpower to protect NATO’s borders. Therefore, we are only talking about hypotheses that have not been included in official government policy. They are designed as solutions to help Afghan refugees, while at the same time allowing NATO to better deal with Russia’s threats.
Furthermore, the Kremlin is looking for ways to explain to its own citizens as well as to the international community why it is using troops and mercenaries from Syria. The narrative is designed to exonerate Russia by highlighting similar “sins” committed by the USA.