Russia Is Already Cozying Up to the Taliban as Kabul Spirals

The fall of Afghanistan’s capital metropolis to the Taliban offered Russia’s state media with loads of alternatives to churn out streams of anti-American propaganda, all whereas cozying as much as the extremist militant group. Unfavorably evaluating the U.S. pullout to the Soviet Union’s inglorious exit from the nation generally known as the “graveyard of empires,” Russian authorities officers and state information shops described the takeover as a complete defeat for the mightiest nation on earth.

Showing on the state TV present 60 Minutes on Monday, political scientist Oleg Matveychev asserted that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is helpful for the Russian Federation: “Russia’s authority is on the rise… this example is helpful for us… America not issues.” He added that Russia ought to proceed to “quietly strangle the US… which is what Putin has already been doing.”

Russia’s courting of the Taliban prolonged to the Kremlin’s English-speaking media, with RT offering a podium to the group’s spokesman on August 14, 2021, aiming to show that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan amounted to nothing greater than a waste of money and time. “The place did the cash go?” requested Mohammad Naim, showing on RT Arabic.

The Taliban spokesperson went on: “We would like the nations who nonetheless don’t perceive the truth of what’s taking place on the bottom in Afghanistan, these nations that got here to Afghanistan 20 years in the past, we wish them to grasp who represents the Afghan folks…These nations have to grasp the truth.” Referring to the Afghan authorities supported by the U.S., Naim asserted: “Why are folks pressured to have one thing they don’t need, one thing that contradicts the rules and values of the folks?”

Whereas western nations evacuated their embassies as Kabul was being overtaken by the Taliban, Moscow didn’t really feel the necessity to do the identical. Nikita Ishchenko, spokesman on the Russian embassy in Kabul, told the state media channel Russia-24 on Sunday that Moscow had no intention of evacuating the diplomatic mission: “The scenario in Kabul is tense, however there isn’t a struggle within the metropolis… There aren’t any threats to the embassy, ​​no evacuation is required.”

With respect to Russia’s relationship with the transitional authorities of Afghanistan, Ishchenko stated that Russia is “very actively” concerned. The Russian embassy in Kabul told state TV Channel 1 that “every little thing is peaceable and everyone seems to be calmly fulfilling their duties.”

At the moment, solely the embassies of Russia and China are functioning in Afghanistan. Each are being guarded by the Taliban, Russian ambassador to Kabul Dmitry Zhirnov advised state TV channel Rossiya-1. “We would like Afghanistan to be civilized, in order that there isn’t a terrorism, there isn’t a medication, in order that human rights are revered. The Taliban made all of the related guarantees to us, let’s hope they are going to be fulfilled,” the ambassador stated on Monday.

Despite the undisguised glee in Moscow brought on by the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, the truth on the bottom and the potential unfold of terrorism within the area do current a trigger for concern, even to the Kremlin. State TV host Skabeeva acknowledged: “We will savor America’s failure, sure, maybe we’re having fun with it… however it should trigger issues for Russia as effectively.”

In July, Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the withdrawal of the U.S. navy forces from Afghanistan represents a complete failure of America’s acknowledged mission. This end result is precisely what the Kremlin has been urging Washington to simply accept.

The withdrawal, set in movement by the Trump administration, was all the time an exhilarating prospect to the Kremlin. In early 2020 the US and the Taliban signed an agreement geared toward ending the struggle in Afghanistan. In February 2021, NATO alleged that the Taliban has dedicated critical breaches of the peace deal and the U.N. questioned the assassination spree focusing on Afghan human rights defenders and journalists. The Kremlin jumped to the Taliban’s protection, with Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, claiming: “The Taliban adhere to the settlement nearly flawlessly… which can’t be stated concerning the Individuals.”

We should cope with these terrorists. Maybe we are going to even should cease calling these folks terrorists.

— Olga Skabeeva.

Russian state media consultants overtly nervous that the Biden administration won’t observe by with the U.S. exit. Nonetheless, pro-Kremlin analysts have been inspired by the truth that the phrases of the peace deal Trump signed with the Taliban positioned President Joe Biden in a no-win scenario. Writing for state media outlet RIA Novosti, in February 2021 political analyst Pyotr Akopov pompously claimed that by pushing the U.S. to proceed with the troop withdrawal introduced by Trump, Russia is attempting to avoid wasting America “from inevitable struggle and disgrace.”

The Kremlin’s actual motives have lengthy been in query, particularly after reports that Russia has been arming the Taliban and its overseas navy intelligence service supplied bounties to the militants to kill American troopers. After the Soviet Union’s humiliating departure from Afghanistan in 1989, Russia has been searching for to extend its affect within the area, whereas edging out the U.S. and NATO.

Despite the fact that the Russian Supreme Court docket declared the Taliban to be a terrorist group in February of 2003, Moscow embraced its representatives and incessantly hosted them for consultations and negotiations. Throughout one such visit to Moscow in July of this yr, the Taliban assured the Kremlin of its intent to curb drug manufacturing and trafficking. Collaborating in a webinar in July, International Minister Sergey Lavrov described the unconventional group as “rational folks”. On August 15, state media outlet Vesti credulously repeated the Taliban’s promise “to respect the rights of girls.”

Someday later, host Olga Skabeeva reported on state TV present 60 Minutes: “Sharia Legislation is being imposed by the Taliban throughout Afghanistan. The rights of girls are already being restricted.” She added that in Herat College in western Afghanistan all ladies have been forcefully eliminated, and all feminine academics will now get replaced by males. Skabeeva predicted that Russia will run into “colossal issues” in coping with the brand new authorities in Afghanistan: “A few of the Taliban are giving us ensures whereas others are slicing off heads.” Skabeeva surmised: “We should cope with these terrorists. Maybe we are going to even should cease calling these folks terrorists.”

Along with strengthening their geopolitical stance, the withdrawal offered priceless propaganda alternatives to undermine the thought of alliances between the US and different nations. China’s state-run International Instances mentioned the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as a sign to democracy activists in Hong Kong that they need to not consider American guarantees to face by their aspect. Likewise, Russian state media peppered its broadcasts with repeated warnings to Ukraine, claiming that sooner or later America will abandon the nation, identical to it did with Afghanistan.

“Individuals are traitors, it’s harmful to be buddies with them”, asserted Olga Skabeeva through the broadcast of 60 Minutes on August 3, 2021.

In wider context, Russian authorities officers declare that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan represents a world failure of democracy. On August 15, on his Telegram channel, Senator Alexei Pushkov known as the occasions in Afghanistan “a revenge of historical past, faith and beliefs over modernity and globalism.” Pushkov described this course of occasions as “dramatic, and even catastrophic” not just for the US, but in addition for all the ‘liberal world order.’

Russia’s arms are untied to do no matter is critical.

— Igor Korotchenko, public advisory council member for Russia’s Protection Ministry.

Pushkov concluded: “Now the US is retreating, together with its doctrine, which for 30 years has been the premise of their coverage of “exporting democracy.” Russian state media shops approvingly re-printed Pushkov’s conclusions.

On Monday Skabeeva described the scenario with the withdrawal as a serious blow to the popularity of the US—and democracy. She referred to the present environment in Afghanistan as “complete hell,” drawing comparisons to the autumn of Saigon within the remaining days of the Vietnam Battle. Skabeeva stated: “August 15 will be formally thought-about the tip of American hegemony and the tip of Afghanistan as we knew it since autumn of 2001. We’re watching probably the most shameful escape of world hegemon.”

Showing on 60 Minutes final week, Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Protection Ministry’s public advisory council, described the US as a “dinosaur, whose time is up.” Retorting to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s description of Russia as a gasoline station, through the August 16 broadcast of 60 Minutes Korotchenko gloated: “I don’t wish to stomp on the American flag, however America is not a superpower. It’s a regional energy. The US of America is North America’s gasoline station. American greatness is over… Russia’s arms are untied to do no matter is critical.” | Russia Is Already Cozying As much as the Taliban as Kabul Spirals


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