US: Unable to confirm if Afghan commandos were recruited by Russian Wagner Group

This is in response to news reports that Russia was indeed recruiting Afghan special forces who fought with the US to fight in Ukraine.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defense, taken September 2018 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defense, taken September 2018
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The United States is unable to confirm if Afghan commandos have been recruited by the Russian Wagner paramilitary organization, they said in a statement earlier this week.

"We've seen those, we've seen the press reporting on that. We don't have any specific information to provide," a US senior military official said in a Department of Defense press briefing on Monday. 

However, they added that they "do know that the Wagner Group does try to recruit foreign fighters, but as it relates to Afghanistan, nothing to -- to pass along."

"We do know that the Wagner Group does try to recruit foreign fighters, but as it relates to Afghanistan, nothing to -- to pass along."

US military official

The original report

Also on Monday, the Associated Press first reported that Russia was indeed recruiting Afghan special forces who fought with the US to fight in Ukraine.

The report cited three former Afghan generals who fled to Iran after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year and only recently have they been recruited by the Russian military to fight in Ukraine.

Former Mujahideen hold weapons to support Afghan forces in their fight against Taliban, on the outskirts of Herat province, Afghanistan July 10, 2021. (credit: JALIL AHMAD/REUTERS)Former Mujahideen hold weapons to support Afghan forces in their fight against Taliban, on the outskirts of Herat province, Afghanistan July 10, 2021. (credit: JALIL AHMAD/REUTERS)

The Afghan generals also said that the Russians want to bring in many former elite Afghan commandos into a "foreign legion," according to the report. They would be offered a monthly paycheck of $1,500.

They are also accepting this deal to avoid being deported to their home country, which many of them fear would die at the hands of the Taliban.