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Russian envoy describes Taliban’s seizure of Kabul as somewhat unexpected

According to Zamir Kabulov, Russia believed that the Afghan army would show resistance for some time

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. The capture of the Afghan capital of Kabul by the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) was somewhat unexpected for Russia, who relied on more optimistic assessments of the combat capability of Afghan government forces, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told the Ekho Moskvy (or Echo of Moscow) radio station on Monday.

"It was indeed somewhat unexpected," he said in response to a question. "We believed that the Afghan army - whatever it is - would still show resistance for some time. However, it seems we were too optimistic about the quality of troops trained by the Americans and NATO forces. They fled at the first gunshot," Kabulov emphasized.

The envoy pointed out that the US media were trying to draw parallels with the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, alleging that back then, "the regime collapsed in the same way." "The regime held for another three years and the regime they created collapsed even before the Americans had left the country, here's the critical difference," he said.

When asked if the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul was a surprise for other countries’ intelligence agencies, Kabulov noted that "US [intelligence agencies] shyly agree with that."

Members of the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) entered Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on Sunday, meeting no resistance, and started to take control of government buildings and police stations abandoned by government forces. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country. The Taliban announced later that they had taken control of all districts of the capital.