Putin: Afghanistan has more significance than ever for Russia

Addressing top security officials from the region in the Kremlin on Wednesday, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said that conflicts elsewhere, including the war in Ukraine, did not reduce the significance of Afghanistan for Russia, “it is important more than ever because we do not want more points of tension on our southern borders.”

Putin warned that international terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda, were stepping up their activities in Afghanistan after the US and its allies withdrew their forces from the country.

“We are also worried about attempts to use the situation in Afghanistan to allow extra-regional forces to expand or build their infrastructure. These countries will create this under the pretext of countering international terrorism, but they are not doing anything that is really necessary in the real counterterrorism struggle,” Putin said.

Moreover, Putin noted that the humanitarian situation was worsening in Afghanistan, millions of people needed urgent aid, drug trafficking was on the rise, and drug fields were growing in the country. “I think 80 percent of opiates in the world market are from Afghanistan,” he maintained.

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“The situation is very complicated, but we are doing all we can to find solutions. We have contacted the country’s leaders in Kabul. We know there are plans to implement large economic projects that could stabilise the situation in the economy,” the Putin added.

The 5th regional security dialogue on Afghanistan was kicked off in Moscow on Wednesday with the presence of top security officials from regional countries, including China, India, Iran, and Pakistan.

Speaking at the meeting, the Indian National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, promised that his country “will never abandon the people of Afghanistan in their time of need.”

The regional security dialogue on Afghanistan was initiated in 2018 in Iran. Tehran hosted its first and second meeting while India and Tajikistan respectively hosted its 3rd and 4th meetings in their respective capitals.