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Putin slams policy of imposing 'outside values' on 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 President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (unseen) after their talks at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, on August 20, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has decried the policy of imposing "outside values" on Afghanistan, which has fallen to the Taliban amid a messy US-led withdrawal from the South Asian country.

Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Kremlin on Friday, Putin slammed the "irresponsible policy" of imposing "outside values" on war-torn Afghanistan.

"You cannot impose standards of political life and behavior on other people from the outside," he added.

US-led NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 with the declared aim of fighting terrorism. The invasion put an end to the Taliban's rule, which had begun in 1996.

But the Taliban militants rapidly overran major cities recently as the US-led forces abruptly withdrew, 20 years after the initial invasion.

Putin said the Taliban militant group controlled "almost the entire territory" of Afghanistan and urged the international community to prevent the collapse of the state. "These are the realities and it is from these realities that we must proceed, preventing the collapse of the Afghan state," he said.

He also stressed the importance of banning "terrorists" from sneaking into neighboring countries from Afghanistan, including "under the guise of refugees."

The Taliban laid siege to Kabul on Sunday, forcing the sitting Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, to flee to an undisclosed location. The unfolding events have led to chaos and confusion, with thousands of Afghan civilians and diplomats swarming Kabul airport to take evacuation flights.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow was in favor of Afghan national dialog involving all Afghan political forces, and also welcomed the Taliban's recent statement that they were ready for such dialog.

The top Russian diplomat expressed his country's readiness to resume the "Moscow format" of talks on Afghanistan, saying that in addition to intra-Afghan forces, all the five countries of Central Asia, along with China, Pakistan, India, and Iran as well as the United States had participated in the Moscow format negotiations in the past.

Russia began hosting the "Moscow format" consultations on Afghanistan in April 2017 with the aim of facilitating a national reconciliation process and securing peace in the conflict-ridden country.

Russia, which has designated Taliban as a terrorist group, announced after the Taliban's first official presser that Moscow was in no hurry to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate force, calling for an inclusive government to be established, involving all Afghan ethnic groups.

In their first official news briefing since their lightning seizure of Kabul, the Taliban said on Tuesday that they wanted peaceful ties with other countries.

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