Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the United States and its allies for leaving Afghanistan in chaos that raises potential security threats for Russia and its allies in Central Asia.
Addressing Tuesday’s meeting of the main Kremlin party, United Russia, Putin noted that militants could use the turmoil to destabilize the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations bordering Afghanistan.
“There is a danger that terrorists and different groups that found a refuge in Afghanistan will use the chaos left by our Western colleagues and try to launch an expansion into neighboring countries,” Putin said. “That will pose a direct threat to our country and its allies.”
At the same time, Putin noted that Moscow has learned the lessons of the 10-year Soviet war in Afghanistan and will stay away from turmoil in Afghanistan.
“We have drawn the necessary lessons,” Putin said. “We don’t have any intention to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and, moreover, let our military forces be drawn into the all-against-all conflict.”
He added that a possible rise in drug trafficking and the exacerbation of problems with migration could also pose threats to Russia.
Moscow, which fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with the Soviet troops’ withdrawal in 1989, has made a diplomatic comeback as a mediator over the past few years, reaching out to the Taliban and other feuding Afghan factions. (AP)