VLADIVOSTOK, September 3. /TASS/. Russia is not interested in the disintegration of Afghanistan, because otherwise "there will be no one to talk to about the situation in the country," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
"Russia is not interested in the disintegration of Afghanistan. If this happens, then there will be nobody to talk to. And if this is so, it is worth realizing that the sooner the Taliban join, so to say, the family of civilized peoples, the easier it will be to make contact with it, to influence it somehow, to ask some questions and, if not demand, then to let it know that within the framework of civilized relations civilized rules must be observed," Putin said at the plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum.
Realities to be born in mind
Putin called for bearing in mind the realities, such as the Taliban’s control of nearly the whole territory of Afghanistan.
"The realities as they are, the Taliban movement controls nearly the whole territory of Afghanistan, except for Panjshir and the adjoining territories to the north, small territories that border on Tajikistan. If this is so, we must proceed from the realities," Putin said.
He recalled that the movement was not homogenous and incorporated mostly Pashtun tribes.
"In the territory of Afghanistan today there are many representatives of other organizations, including extremist ones: the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) and so on. Many people, including radical elements, have been released from jail," Putin said.
Putin said that he had discussed Afghanistan "with many counterparts" lately. The events in Afghanistan pose a threat to the Asian countries neighboring Russia, and consequently, Russia as well, he explained.
"In the event of [Afghanistan’s] disintegration, there will be nobody to talk to in Afghanistan. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (outlawed in Russia) and many others in the territory of Afghanistan pose a threat to our allies and neighbors. And if we remember that we have no visa restrictions and cross-border travel is actually free, it will be clear that for us, for Russia, all this has great importance from the standpoint of maintaining our security," Putin said.
At the same time, he believes it is necessary to pool efforts, to struggle with problems together and to achieve the legalization of political forces in Afghanistan.
"It is crucial to do this, to pool efforts. But when I see some high-ranking officials, in the very same United States, say that ‘first we will use force to liberate’ and then focus efforts on the further struggle against China or Russia, I feel like telling them: first you should sort things out with those you have been fighting against for the past 20 years, and then start talking about resistance to Russia and China," Putin said.
He urged everybody to never forget that the US introduced its troops to Afghanistan after the heinous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and that the whole operation was devoted to the fight against terrorism.
"Unity is required to effectively resist terrorism, which is precisely the reason why the US forces were moved to Afghanistan, and to struggle against drug trafficking and organized crime. These are common threats and they can be effectively fought against only by presenting a common front," Putin concluded.