Is there a way forward in Afghanistan?
The latest wave of Taliban attacks calls into question both US strategy and the Afghan government's capabilities.
It's two months since US President Donald Trump unveiled a new American strategy in Afghanistan. His announced intention was to give military commanders more flexibility, while increasing troop numbers and leaving the US presence open-ended.
Russia has sought the opportunity to expand its influence in Afghanistan at the expense of the US.
The Afghans have bitter memories of the Russians, given the Soviet invasion and occupation of their country for nearly a decade in the 1980s. During that period, more than a million Afghans were killed, hundreds of thousands injured, with some eight million becoming external and internal refugees, not to mention the extent of the country's physical destruction.
However, times and conditions have changed. The inability of the United States, together with its NATO allies, to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, following the US-led military intervention in response to the September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacks on the US, have opened a new window for a resurgent Russia.