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Russia not to draw its army into all-against-all conflict in Afghanistan — Putin

Russian leader stressed that Russia would not interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs

MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. Russia is keeping a close eye on the situation in Afghanistan but will not let its armed forces be drawn into an all-against-all conflict in that country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

"You know how difficult and alarming the situation in Afghanistan currently is. We are keeping a close eye on this situation, actively cooperating with our allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)," he said at a congress of the ruling United Russia party. "Naturally, we will not interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs, neither will our armed forces be drawn into this all-against-all conflict. I think this is what is going on there."

He recalled that the conflict in Afghanistan has been smoldering for decades. "The former Soviet Union has its own experience in that country. We have learned the lesson," Putin said.

After the Biden administration announced the end of its US military operation in Afghanistan and the launch of its troop pullout, the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) embarked on an offensive against Afghan government forces. On August 15, Taliban fighters swept into Kabul without encountering any resistance, and gained full control over the Afghan capital within a few hours. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to prevent any bloodshed and subsequently fled the country. Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that under the constitution, he becomes "the caretaker president" in the absence of the president and called for armed resistance against the Taliban.

The northern province of Panjshir is the only pocket of resistance to the Taliban. It is led by Ahmad Massoud, a son of Ahmad Shah Massoud (1953-2001), a once influential leader of Afghanistan’s Tajik community who fought against the Taliban back in the 1990s. A source in Panjshir told TASS on Saturday that Massoud had embarked on talks with the Taliban on the establishment of an inclusive government and on settling political contradictions.