KABUL -- The Taliban's close ties with the Russian regime are an insult to the sacrifices made by Afghans who fought to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and reflects the group's desperation, analysts and observers say.
Russian support has been crucial to the militant group's survival, while the Taliban has helped prop up Moscow's interests in the country, said Masuda Karukhi, a member of the Wolesi Jirga from Herat Province.
"Russia is ready to do anything for their interests in Afghanistan," Karukhi said.
"Russia, along with Iran, was a serious enemy of the Taliban during their rule, but now this country supports the Taliban in an effort to destroy Afghanistan," she added.
"People coming from Badghis three to four years ago reported that the Taliban received military equipment from Russia," she added. "Russia even provided night vision binoculars to the Taliban, who used them in martyring a number of our brave soldiers."
A question of power
The Taliban's ties with Russia show the group has always been a puppets of foreign countries and that its cause has nothing to do with establishing an Islamic government, said Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, also a member of the Wolesi Jirga from Herat Province.
"The Taliban prefer having power to seeing an Islamic state, and when they focus on power, they can't see anything else," he said, referring to the irony of the insurgents outfit's alliance with the Russian regime.
Ahmad Behruz, a political analyst in Kabul, said the Taliban are desperate for any support.
"The Taliban fight against the Afghan people in order take control and make money, and it doesn't make any difference from which country they receive money," he said.
"Unfortunately, our neighbours, especially Iran and Russia, make every effort to destroy Afghanistan's fledgling democracy, and the Taliban seek support from any country as it doesn't make any difference for them," said Behruz.
"It is sad that the Taliban continue to fight until they grab power, and that they blatantly seek support from Russia, which once invaded Afghanistan and martyred and disabled hundreds of thousands of our fellow Afghans," he added.
The Taliban's actions are enabling Moscow to indirectly kill Afghans once again, said Ahmad Farhad 26, a resident of Kabul city.
"My grandpa was martyred, my father lost his leg and thousands of our innocent citizens were killed during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, yet the Taliban have pledged allegiance to that invading country, who are trying to kill Afghans again," he said.
The Taliban do not respect national and historic interests and forge links with anyone who can help them continue their war against the government, said Sabawoon Hamdard, a student of law at a private university in Kabul.
"Unfortunately, the Taliban, despite calling themselves Afghan citizens, disregard national values, especially the Afghan jihad against the Russian invasion," said Hamdard.
"In order to keep up their war, the Taliban have become puppets of Russia, which ruined Afghanistan and martyred and disabled millions of Afghans," he added.
No religious justification
The Taliban's war in Afghanistan has no religious justification, especially since the killing Afghan citizens with Russian money is not considered "jihad", say religious scholars.
"As the Taliban have signed a peace deal with the United States, they have no valid excuse to continue fighting against foreigners and declare jihad against the Afghan people," said Mohammad Salem Hasani, a religious scholar in Kabul.
"The Afghan government is Islamic," said Hasani. "The government has never restricted Islamic affairs and rulings, but it has rather upheld, supported and strengthened them."
"There is a clear consensus among scholars in Afghanistan, Jeddah, Mecca and Indonesia that the Afghan government is Islamic, and according to the fatwa of these scholars, any violence and militancy against the government are prohibited," he added.
The so-called jihad in Islam has many subtleties and a set of criteria that have not been met in Afghanistan, said Maulawi Zabihullah Ateeq, a representative of Badakhshan in the Wolesi Jirga.
"Our government has many issues; we can't deny that. But the Taliban can't find any justification in Islam that might allow them to kill Afghan people in the name of jihad and preserve Islamic values," said Ateeq.
"You can't find it anywhere in Islamic [scripture] that allows you to kill dozens of civilians while attempting to target an Afghan soldier who's also a Muslim," added Ateeq.
The Taliban's violent activities have no place in Islam and the group has been forced to seek out Russian support to survive, said Sayed Jawad Husseini, an Afghan political analyst in Kabul.
"The Taliban have always perpetrated attacks and activities that didn't have any connection with Islamic teachings and national values of Afghanistan, and their destructive attacks violate Islamic principles," he said.