With Afghan Collapse, Moscow Takes Charge in Central Asia

  • What Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V Lavrov thinks of NATO and U.S. forces pulling from Afghanistan
  • Why Russia preformed a high-profile military exercise near the Taliban borders

As the Afghan government collapsed this week in Kabul and the United States scrambled to speed up its evacuation effort, hundreds of Russian armored vehicles and artillery pieces were clearly visible hundreds of miles away, on the border with Tajikistan. Russian General Anatoly Sidorov said “They are all visible, they are not hiding.” in regards to the high-profile Russian military exercise taking place just 12 miles from a Taliban position.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov said “I wouldn’t say a wounded animal, but this is a group of countries that in a very painful and difficult way is giving up on the positions in the world they were used to for many decades,” in regards to the withdrawal of NATO and the U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

At Russia’s most recent round of talks with the Taliban in Moscow, in July, the group pledged that its military gains would not be a threat to Russia or its interests. Russia hosted the Taliban for multiple rounds of talks even though the group is officially classified as a banned terrorist organization in Russia, making any associated with it a potential crime. Russia’s military exercises on the border represented another side of its strategy, a show of force to demonstrate its willingness to punish the Taliban if they should step out of line. 

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