Sunday, July 3, 2022

Russia urges Afghanistan neighbors to prevent US, NATO presence on their soil

Moscow calls on Afghanistan's neighboring countries to prevent the military presence of the United States and NATO on their territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

“We once again call on Afghanistan’s neighboring countries to prevent the military presence of the US and NATO on their territory as those plan to move there in light of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan,” he stated on Wednesday in a video address to participants in a ministerial meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries involving Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

NATO members including Washington should bear primary responsibility for the socio-economic recovery of Afghanistan because they are the ones who created the war-ravaged country’s current predicament, Lavrov continued.

“Clearly, establishing a national system of education and healthcare, as well as creating an effective socio-economic infrastructure in Afghanistan, will require enormous financial efforts. In this regard, I would like to emphasize that those who created the current situation in the country should bear the primary responsibility,” Lavrov pointed out.

According to him, the time apparently has come “to start mobilization work to collect resources in order to provide financial, economic and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people”.

“I hope that the habit of Westerners holding conferences for the sake of conferences has become a thing of the past. The time has come for concrete action on this front,” Lavrov noted.

The Russian top diplomat also stressed that the United Nations needed to play a coordinating role in the process.

“It was the UN to whom delegates to the Moscow consultations on Afghanistan of October 20, 2021, appealed on the matter,” Lavrov added.

Terrorists disguised as refugees have been trying to infiltrate neighboring countries. These attempts must be resisted by all means, he stated.

“The current task on the agenda is to ease the effects of and control migration flows from Afghanistan, because terrorist and criminal elements posing as refugees may infiltrate neighboring countries and have already been trying to do so,” he underlined.

“This goal can be achieved only by creating normal conditions in Afghanistan. In the long term this will be a major prerequisite for the gradual return of Afghans to their homes,” Lavrov underscored.

After the United States announced plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban embarked on a large-scale operation to take the country under control. Taliban fighters swept into Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on August 15, without encountering any resistance, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country. On September 7, the Taliban announced an interim government, which has not been recognized by any country yet.

Russia is planning to send a batch of food products and medicines to Afghanistan in the near future, Lavrov said.

“Russia is ready to contribute to the joint effort. In the near future, we are planning to send to [our] Afghan partners a batch of humanitarian aid consisting of food products, medicines and basic necessities,” the Russian top diplomat added.

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