Escalation of Afghanistan’s socio-economic situation following the cessation of financial and technical assistance by mostly Western aid workers is a matter of concern for Russia. Afghanistan is on the brink of economic collapse, and this issue is the sound of the alarm about instability and the real humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan that is affecting the world. Resumption of activities of government institutions and the banks are unknown. Rising prices for basic goods, food and fuel in Kabul and other major cities have sparked dissatisfaction with the Taliban policies, and Moscow is considering the possibility of sending Russian humanitarian aid to Kabul, and hopes for participation of financial donors and countries which are rendering help in the improvement of that country’s economy.
Russia claims to continue its support for the establishment of Afghanistan as an independent and economically well-organized country. The confused withdrawal of Western countries from Afghanistan may have a negative impact on the welfare of the entire country. Western countries have decided on the forms of their presence and implementation of their own affairs in Afghanistan, far from the authority of the UN Security Council, and have never submitted a report to this council and the international community. The main responsibility for this action, as well as the “legacy” they have left for the Taliban movement, lies with them. Moscow calls on the international community to take effective measures to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Russia believes that representatives of the Taliban movement are taking steps to establish a new political system in that country, and that Moscow supports the early formation of an inclusive coalition government with the participation of all Afghan ethnic-political forces, including national minorities.
Russia is concerned that terrorists and extremists could infiltrate countries in the region and Central Asia under the guise of asylum seeker. The possibility for terrorist elements and extremists to infiltrate Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, especially Central Asia, is a cause for concern. They can infiltrate under the guise of humanitarian slogans and asking for help for the refugees and so on. In recent days, after a rumor that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is trying to persuade Afghanistan’s neighbors to open their borders to accept the migrants, Moscow has reacted to the question that if NATO has a plan to open Afghanistan’s borders with neighboring countries, Europe will suffer from this issue.
Russia, which criticizes US and Western policies, believes that the United States and the West, despite their hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, remain primarily responsible for what is happening in that country. According to Moscow, Western countries have been carrying out unbridled actions in the country for 20 years, while they had to follow the orders of the Security Council. They are, in every sense, “indebted” to Afghanistan. The world was witness to what NATO, led by the United States, has done there and what achievement was gained as the results of its actions.
From Moscow’s point of view, the international community, and in the first place Western aid workers in Afghanistan, must provide effective assistance to the people of that country in order to reduce or completely stop the flow of migrants. Moscow sees the situation in Afghanistan as neglecting and underestimating the real situation in that country, and this is partly due to the inefficiency of the US, British and other NATO intelligence services, which have not adequately and purposefully collected and analyzed information.
Moscow believes that there are some Americans who have benefited from this war therefore they do not worry about what the world thinks of America. For this group of people, the 20-year war has become a gold mine. The United States has spent more than 1 trillion dollars of the taxpayers’ money directly on the war. If indirect costs are taken into account, this figure will become almost doubled. For example, the US military, through which billions of dollars of Afghan army money circulated. Only about 90 billion dollars was spent on staff training, and private contractors made huge profits.
During the US military presence, the number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan increased exponentially. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, and other terrorist groups that see Afghanistan as a base for transfer of their operations to Central Asia, Xinjiang in China, northern Iran, and India and evaluate the situation in Afghanistan as appropriate for themselves. Instead of fighting drug trafficking during the two decades of political-military management in Afghanistan, the United States implemented a plan to establish a global drug lab, resulting in a 40-fold increase in drug production in Afghanistan.
Russia, through the Security Council, security-executive agencies, special services and military agencies, has intensified contacts with governments closest to Afghanistan, primarily with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as with China, Iran, India and Pakistan. Moscow actively exploited the potential of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Moscow focuses primarily on political and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan and together with its partners is looking for ways to build intra-Afghan dialogue and resolve problems peacefully in that country. Moscow attaches great importance to the coordinator role of the UN in international efforts to resolve Afghan crisis. It is even said that Islamabad and Moscow have established cooperation on Afghanistan within the framework of the “4+1” and that talks have been held through special services.
Russian President Putin considers it impossible to “impose anything from outside” on the political future of Taliban-dominated Afghanistan. According to him, for twenty years, American soldiers were present in that land and tried to civilize the people who live there and to establish their norms and standards of life there, the result of which was a catastrophe. Russia has so far taken a relatively conciliatory and peaceful stance against the Taliban, calling for a “national dialogue” to form a government, but Moscow still considers the Taliban a “terrorist” group. Although Russia has been in talks with them for years, it does not intend to recognize the Taliban in Afghanistan at present.
Vladimir Jabarov, First Deputy Chairman of the International Committee of the Federation Council, explicitly considers the composition of the new Afghan government to be worrying and fundamentalist. Russia acknowledges that its contacts are made through its embassy in Kabul, and considers those contacts necessary for the security of diplomats and other technical issues, and has not scheduled any further talks at this time. Russia, like many other countries, is monitoring the Afghan government’s efforts to establish a new political system in the country. Russia has called for an inclusive coalition government with all political and ethnic forces in Afghanistan, and it is expected that formal recognition of the new government will take place after the process is completed.
After announcing that the Taliban had sent invitations to Iran, Russia, Qatar, Pakistan, China and Turkey to attend the inauguration of members of the Taliban government – which was subsequently canceled – Russia said no decision had been made to recognize the Taliban. But it is closely monitoring developments and trying to understand how consistent the Taliban’s promises will be with their future actions. It is important for Russia what the Taliban system of government will look like both in the system as a whole and in the people who will hold office in it. Evidence shows that Moscow has established working relations with the Taliban through the Russian embassy in Kabul but has no plans to negotiate with the new government announced by the Taliban.