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US tries to "abandon" Afghan refugees in Central Asian countries — Lavrov

The Taliban launched a large-scale operation for establishing control of Afghanistan after the US last spring declared its troop pullout

MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. Washington has been trying to abandon the Afghan refugees who had cooperated with the United States in the territory of Russia's allies in Central Asia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Rossiya-24 round-the clock television news channel in an interview. 

He recalled that after the Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan on August 15 (the radical Taliban movement is outlawed in Russia - TASS) the West hurried to bombard Afghanistan's Central Asian neighbors with requests for accommodating tens of thousands of refugees each.

"They were asked to do that only for some time, until the West issued the necessary papers for their immigration to the Western countries," Lavrov said. "Thank God none [of the Central Asian countries] agreed to follow this path, at least, to the degree the West was talking about."

"If you cooperated with the Afghans on the ground for a rather long time and hired them in the capacity of interpreters and informers, then you must have checked their backgrounds, right?" Lavrov said. "And if you are still unable to understand, after they worked for you long enough, whether they are trustworthy or not, then why do you abandon them in the central Asian countries, which are our allies? The subject is not closed yet."

Lavrov stressed that some refugees had managed to resettle to countries neighboring on Afghanistan in the end and "their future must be decided on."

"Many spontaneously flocked into Central Asia. Attitudes to them vary. These countries have been trying to protect themselves from these flows," he said. "Uzbekistan has created special facilities near the airport, from where they are redirected to other countries, but not allowed into other areas of Uzbekistan."

The Russian foreign minister said the "Tajik neighbors" have been following "the same road."

"They are being pestered with requests for accommodating refugees, too. They wish to create accommodation facilities on the condition there are firm guarantees these refugees will be taken away after sometime," Lavrov said.

The Taliban launched a large-scale operation for establishing control of Afghanistan after the United States last spring declared its troop pullout. On August 15, the Taliban entered the capital Kabul without encountering any resistance. President Ashraf Ghani stepped down and left the country. On September 6, the Taliban said the whole territory of Afghanistan was under their control. On September 7, they unveiled the composition of an interim government, which has not been recognized by any country yet.