After a nearly 20-year presence, US and NATO troops are leaving Afghanistan. The start of their withdrawal reportedly led the Taliban* to double down in its fight against government forces, allegedly taking over 80% of Afghanistan under its control.
Despite US President Joe Biden’s attempts to paint the withdrawal from Afghanistan as a result of Washington achieving its mission in the country, everyone understands that, in fact, America’s mission in Afghanistan failed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said in an interview with journalists. He added that even people in the US see it this way.
The minister pointed out that Daesh and al-Qaeda had strengthened their positions and that drug production and trafficking are at all-time highs in Afghanistan. He claimed that around 90% of the global supply of narcotics originates from Afghanistan. The production of drugs is believed to be one of the main sources of income for the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan.
The foreign minister separately touched upon the issue of the US plans for redirecting part of its military resources from Afghanistan to nearby countries. Lavrov indicated that these plans had seemingly failed too.
“First of all, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have already officially announced that this is out of the question, they will not place such infrastructure on their territory. […] None of our allies announced their intention to expose their territory, their population to such a risk”, Lavrov said.
Work on Afghanistan Continues
Despite the US withdrawal from the country, Moscow is ready to continue working with Washington and Beijing, as well as other states capable of influencing the situation in Afghanistan. The minister shared that Iran and India might join a so-called “Troika Format” on Afghanistan in the future.
Lavrov stressed that Russia is not interested in chaos erupting in Afghanistan, not just because it might spill over into nearby countries, but also because it wishes the Afghan people well. The minister added that to achieve peace in the country, all parties must be present at the negotiating table, including the members of the Taliban who recently visited Moscow to discuss the situation in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal.
“We are not working now to ensure that one force in Afghanistan overpowers another, because this will be a very unstable, fragile, and temporary solution. All our pathos […] and all our efforts are aimed at ensuring a dialogue, which should eventually lead to a political settlement, includes all political, ethnic, and other groups in Afghanistan”, Lavrov said.
The Taliban recently ramped up its actions against the Afghan government in Kabul, reportedly seizing control over 80% of the country. These advances came in the wake of the US announcement that its troops will be leaving the country by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. NATO also announced that its forces will be pulling out of Afghanistan.