Sat, 04 Dec 2021

Moscow [Russia], October 28 (ANI): With the withdrawal of the United States and its Western allies from Afghanistan has led to security concerns for powers such as Russia as the war-torn country's uncontrolled smuggling of narcotics and arms is resulting in greater instability in Central Asia, said a Russian-based think tank.

In its report, the Russian International Affairs Council said, that recent developments involving border tensions between the Taliban regime and Tajikistan, a nation that has refused to recognise the Islamist movement unlike other neighboring countries, make it amply clear that Russia's apprehensions about Afghanistan are well-founded. Russia, which maintains a military base in the former Soviet Union state, is concerned that the Taliban, as well as drug smugglers, could take advantage of the unstable situation.

It has been over two months when the Taliban captured Kabul after an aggressive and rapid advance against Afghanistan government forces after US military drawdown.

Recently, the military exercise was carried out by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (the CSTO), the Russia-led post-Soviet security bloc, near the Tajik-Afghan border. Citing some reports, the Russian think tank said that the six-day drill involved over 5,000 servicemen, more than half of them Russian soldiers. Smaller-scale exercises were held in August and September by Russia and its Central Asian allies in the vicinity of the Afghan border.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has warned Dushanbe against meddling in Afghanistan's domestic affairs. Ethnic Tajiks make up more than a quarter of Afghanistan's population, but members of the Taliban predominantly belong to the biggest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, said the think tank.

According to the Russian think tank, in the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan has tried to reinvigorate its grip on the fragile country. According to some reports, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, called the Tajik President, Emomali Rahmon, to try and defuse tensions, a way to style itself as a deal broker and a neutral party, despite vested interests.

Earlier this year, Russia stated that the Taliban controlled roughly two-thirds of Afghanistan's border with Tajikistan. As a result, Russia recently conducted joint military operations with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the region.

Speaking at the Russian Academy of Sciences on a session focused on Afghanistan, Alexander Venediktov, the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, put it this way: "We have to state that the situation in that country poses a whole number of very serious threats not only to regional security but primarily to the national security of our country", adding that the Afghanistan crisis may lead to a skyrocketing in illegal arms trade, which, according to them, could take on 'unprecedented dimensions' if left unchecked.

Venediktov said that developments in Afghanistan had exacerbated an entire slew of problems, such as terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, mass migration and "the export of radicalism, including the illegal arms trade, which may soar to unprecedented proportions".

Pointing out the instability in Afghanistan, the think tank said that Russia is aware that it cannot handle the situation with its forces alone, even if it wanted to. It is for these reasons that Pakistan's role and involvement in the entire Afghanistan-Tajikistan affair become crucial.

According to the think tank, Islamabad, which has backed the Taliban from the very beginning, claims that all problems will be resolved once the international community recognises the Islamist government. On the other hand, there are several countries that are concerned about the rise of terrorism along with all its associated problems.

Moreover, many countries including the United States, Japan, Canada, France, UK have expressed that the countries are not planning to recognise the government formed by the Taliban. (ANI)

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