4 Reasons Russia Increasingly Favors the Taliban in Afghanistan | The Diplomat:
Moscow’s links with Taliban date back for some time. The Russians’ first in-person contact with the Taliban was established in 1995 when a Russian helicopter transporting weapons was forced to land in Kandahar by the Taliban and seven Russian citizens were arrested. It was none other than Zamir Kabulov who traveled to Kandahar and met the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. After the negotiations failed, the seven arrested Russian pilots escaped by helicopter to UAE and also took with them three Taliban.