Months after the US hastened withdrawal from Afghanistan and the fall of the country to the Taliban, Russia has appealed on Central Asian nations to reject any plans for NATO troops to be stationed in the region around Afghanistan, Russian media report.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, reiterated in a video address to the participants in a ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries – that include Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan- Moscow’s requests for them to prevent the US and NATO military presence on their soil, warning on its plan to move in there in light of their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Lavrov stressed that the US and the West’s stubborn desire to remold Afghanistan has led to some dire consequences, including internal strife, bloodshed, collapse of Afghanistan’s society and economy and a humanitarian catastrophe.
He also condemned Washington for always viewing Afghanistan as nothing more than a convenient tool for achieving its self-serving geopolitical goals, without caring about the damage they caused in the country nor about the unprecedented corruption, drug trafficking the wave of rampant violence by international terrorist groups it enabled.
The deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Yuri Kokov, also warned earlier the same day that the US is attempting to boost its military presence in the region under the pretense of conducting anti-terrorism operations.
Russia has stepped up its presence in the region following the US withdrawal from the country , positioned itself as a peace broker in Central Asia and hosting a delegation of Taliban political representatives despite the fact that it officially lists the group as a terrorist organization banned from operating in Russia.
Russian officials, however, have defended ongoing negotiations as part of efforts to restore regional stability with Lavrov demanding the Taliban to strictly prevent anyone from using Afghanistan territory against the interests of the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan.
He offered in return to try to include the movement through the UN, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, CSTO and other multilateral structures.