In this March 27, 2017, file photo, men sit on the Nadir Khan hilltop overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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As America's 16-year war in Afghanistan drags on, Russia is resurrecting its own interest in the "graveyard of empires".Afghanistan's government is attending, but the U.S. declined an invitation, saying it wasn't consulted ahead of time.For the United States, the new Russian foray into Afghanistan may represent another worrying consequence of a perceived American retrenchment.President Vladimir Putin's government is an unlikely peace broker in Afghanistan, but the Afghans are grappling with great uncertainty.They're waiting to see if Washington sends more troops -- as Gen. John Nicholson, top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, advocates -- or adjusts strategy amid increased Taliban attacks and Afghan military setbacks. The U.S. maintains 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counter-terrorism operations.Russia's frontier is several hundred miles from Afghanistan; the U.S. shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, its southern neighbor.Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. general in Europe, became the latest senior military official to accuse Moscow of undermining U.S. and NATO allies in Afghanistan, warning a congressional hearing last week of expanding Russian influence on the Taliban.Since 2001, the U.S. military has combated groups threatening to Russia and its neighbors.
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