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US trying to take root in Central Asia after Afghanistan fiasco: Russia

A general view of the runway tarmac inside the Bagram US air base after all US and NATO troops left, some 70 km north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 5, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has denounced the United States' ongoing talks with Afghanistan's neighboring countries to create military bases as well as centers for refugees, saying Washington is seeking to take root in Central Asia following its withdrawal from the war-ravaged country, where it has faced a complete failure.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the remarks in a press conference on Wednesday, saying it is no secret that these talks "are rather assertive and intrusive."

"The US declared far and wide that they are leaving Afghanistan. And this is true. But at the same time, they are holding talks with all the countries neighboring Afghanistan on creating some logistical centers and bases for pulling out equipment from there, and of course, establishing centers that could admit refugees from Afghanistan, people who the US cooperated with for many years over there," he said.

"I can say one thing here, and it’s simply logical: why are you withdrawing if you basically stand there behind the fence, trying to look through the gaps to see what is going on over there? Why leave then? To literally remain on the border? The answer is absolutely clear: this is an attempt to take root in the Central Asian region. Naturally, after losing everything that can be lost in Afghanistan," he added.

Shoigu said that it was hard to find a place on the planet "where the US came and stayed for a long time with good consequences," citing Syria and Libya as examples, where Washington's presence has led to no good.   

"In Syria, for example, the country is being blatantly plundered, with oil and other natural resources brazenly exported, without the knowledge of the Syrian state and with no benefit to it," he said, adding that with regard to Libya, the war-battered country has been still split in two to this day.

This comes as the Russian defense chief had warned earlier in the day that members of the Takfiri Daesh militant group are moving into Afghanistan from Syria, Libya, and several other countries.

He also stressed that Moscow would provide its Central Asian ally Tajikistan with military assistance if any security threats emanate from Afghanistan amid the Taliban militant group’s  advance and the "deteriorating" situation in the war-torn country.

The United States, along with its NATO allies, invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. The invasion, which has led to the longest war in US history, removed the Taliban from power, but it worsened the security situation in the country.

The Taliban militants are now intensifying their attacks as the US-led foreign forces complete their withdrawal under a deal with the Taliban. The US and its NATO allies are blamed for the surge in violence in Afghanistan, and many say the invaders have failed to stabilize the security situation in the country.

The militants are believed to control about half of Afghanistan's roughly 400 districts. 

The Taliban also claim to have seized control of 90 percent of Afghanistan's borders. The government in Kabul has dismissed that claim.

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