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‘A failure’: Russia mocks logic of US conduct in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (photo by TASS)

Russia has criticized the US war in Afghanistan as a “failure” that did not have any logic behind it, noting that Washington never reported to the UN Security Council on its engagement there over the course of the two-decade occupation.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova disputed the assertion made by US officials that the drawdown in Afghanistan is “a logical completion” of military operations there. “It is not a logical completion; It is a failure,” she said on Sunday.

“It is impossible to understand the logic of what the United States was doing there," she said during an interview with local Rossiya-1 television channel. “Because only a campaign that has some logic can have a logical completion.”

Zakharova’s remarks came days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov raised serious concerns about the surge of violence across Afghanistan, blasting the US and its NATO allies for a “hasty” withdrawal and failing to stabilize the security situation in the country after two decades of military presence.

“The threat of such a scenario remains a serious obstacle to the involvement of Afghanistan in regional cooperation,” Lavrov said during a plenary session of a high-level international conference in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, emphasizing that the situation in Afghanistan had been “rapidly degrading” in recent days.

Zakharova further pointed out that the US had never reported to the United Nations Security Council or the international community about its actions in Afghanistan despite its long-time engagement there.

"Twenty years is a long period of time. And over this period, the United States has never reported not only to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but to the entire international community, despite the reminders, despite the calls, despite its commitments,” she added.

The senior diplomat further slammed Washington for failing to fulfill its commitment to accommodate displaced Afghans evacuated to neighboring nations, saying, "One of the United States’ initiatives is to accommodate Afghan nationals evacuated from that country in neighboring countries. How many people do you think are meant? Tens of thousands."

‘Russia talks with Taliban in accordance with UNSC’

Zakharova also emphasized during the interview that Russia’s contacts with representatives of the Taliban were in accordance with a UNSC resolution that listed the group – outlawed in Russia – as a participant in the intra-Afghan talks.

"The Taliban movement is outlawed in our country as an organization. The matter is that Russia has repeatedly stressed that it doesn’t support, moreover, it reiterates its commitment to fight against international terrorism and condemns any terrorist activities, including the Taliban movement," she underlined.

"But there is a small but important nuance. The Taliban movement is part of the intra-Afghan dialogue and the UN Security Council called on all countries to promote such dialogue,” the Russian diplomat added, referring to a March 2020 UNSC resolution.

“We only implement the Security Council resolution [by holding contacts with the Taliban],” she then noted. “We supported it [the resolution] as a country and we implement it in practice."

Zakharova went on to slam media’s criticism of Moscow’s contacts with the Taliban as a “political” ploy, saying, “The matter is that facts must not be twisted. They are not political views… But one must know key international legal documents.”

The remarks came after a delegation from the Taliban’s Qatar political office visited Moscow and met with the Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan and director of the foreign ministry’s second Asia department, Zamir Kabulov.

Following the meeting, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the Taliban had pledged not to violate the borders of Central Asian countries and guarantee the security of foreign diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, according to TASS news agency.

Kabulov warned the Taliban last Wednesday that any attempt by the militants to undermine security in the region would lead to grave consequences for the militants.

He said Moscow was “closely monitoring the situation” as the Taliban overran areas in Afghanistan, bordering five countries — Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Pakistan.

“But, when the Taliban see that any attempt to undermine the security of our allies in Central Asia will be fraught with great losses for them, they will start behaving,” Kabulov further emphasized.

Russia also declared earlier this month that it was ready to use its military base in Tajikistan “to prevent any aggressive impulses toward our allies.”

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