Petr Topychkanov
Topychkanov was a fellow in the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program.
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A suicide car bomber has blown up a vehicle outside of the regional airport on February 27 in eastern Afghanistan. At least nine people are reported to have been killed and twelve others injured. This is the latest attack in a series of week-long violent demonstrations, protests, and attacks on NATO coalition troops in response to an incident where NATO troops reportedly burned the Koran in a fire pit and those remains were disposed of and subsequently discovered.

Speaking with Kim Brown on Voice of Russia, the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Peter Topychkanov highlighted the propaganda value that this incident provides for the Taliban, to support their claims that the United States is at war not only with them but with Islam writ large. He mentioned that the use of such incidents serves to bolster recruiting efforts by the Taliban as they wage an information campaign, which is unlikely to be calmed by official apologies in the mass media.

Topychkanov also argued that NATO will find it hard to negotiate with the Taliban as their departure appears imminent. He pointed out that Afghan society is fractured; while the United States may reach agreement with one faction, other groups in Afghanistan may not honor it.