President Vladimir V. Putin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir N. Kabulov, has confirmed Russia will not be joining the United States anymore in Afghanistan calling the war “a useless event”, also adding that “Russia will not play second place to America in the war but would rather address on its own, what it sees as the immediate security threat from the chaos in Afghanistan and the emergence there of militants other than the Taliban, especially those from the Islamic State”.
“We won’t join the useless events“, Kabulov said, continuing with:
“and we’ve already told the Americans. Honestly speaking, we’re already tired of joining anything Washington starts. The Kremlin has no desire to participate in what the Americans organize ‘on the fly’ just for their own pre-election interests and where they give us the role of extras on the set”,
He added that Russia would stay out of talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Kabul, backed by the United States, Pakistan and China.
According to Mr. Kabulov, Russia has presently created direct channels to the Taliban to exchange information regarding insurgents in Northern Afghanistan allied with the Islamic State. The Taliban still denies being in touch with Moscow.
Russia has strengthened its largest foreign military base in Tajikistan,located along the border with Afghanistan. She is also keeping regular exercises with Tajik soldiers. The Kremlin has also entrusted “one-point-two-billion dollars to train and equip the Tajik Army, forming a new bulwark in Central Asia north of Afghanistan”.
This new development has Afghan officials worried that “a breakdown of consensus among the international powers with an interest in Afghanistan, and the establishment of direct contacts with those governments and the insurgent Taliban, would undermine the government in Kabul“, Times report.
Afghanistan is also worried about Putin’s decision stating “forces out of their control” as Russia’s motivation. The forces include ‘a lack of a clear American strategy and Mr. Putin’s tense relationship with the United States”, Afghan officials said.
A senior Afghan official who spoke anonymously to avoid his comments inciting mistrust in Moscow said: “Bilaterally, we have struggled to convince the Russians on certain issues because they increasingly see us only as part of this larger game with the United States”.
Adviser to the head of Russia’s antidrug agency, Viktor P. Ivano, Yurii V. Krupnov said that “Fighting drug trafficking rings that partially fund the Afghan insurgency had been an area of common interest for the Russians and the Americans but that stopped when the United States Treasury Department in 2014 imposed sanctions on Mr. Ivanov, a close associate of Mr. Putin’s”.
Mr. Krupnov added:
“Washington had no dialogue with us, and just asserted its interests and sovereignty, and was uninterested in the views of Russia or anybody else. The Obama administration buried this promising line of cooperation. All room for cooperation is exhausted.”
Internal rifts are seen as the reason Russian officials decided to seek out direct access with the Taliban as a means to “drive a wedge deeper between the militants who threaten Russia and their Afghan hosts”.
Speaking on behalf of the United States, a researcher at the Carnegie center in Moscow, Aleksei V. Malashenko said: “The official position, and this is from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is that Russia is risking a lot and has nothing to gain” from cooperating with the United States. We couldn’t agree on Georgia, on Ukraine and on Syria; why get involved in another conflict where we cannot agree?” he said, describing the Russian position as “let the Americans boil”.
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