Zamir Kabulov On Russia’s Updated Assessment Of Afghanistan

Zamir Kabulov On Russia’s Updated Assessment Of Afghanistan

By Andrew Korybko

The Eurasian Great Power is playing a responsible role in that war-torn country and has very accurate assessments of the situation there as well as realistic forecasts for how it might soon evolve.

Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov shared his country’s updated assessment of Afghanistan in an interview with TASS that was divided by topic into multiple reports on their website. The purpose of this piece is to inform interested readers of Russia’s evolving position towards that country and its de facto Taliban leaders, who are still officially designated as terrorists by Moscow despite that country pragmatically engaging with them in the shared interests of peace, stability, and development.

Kabulov condemned the US-led West for weaponizing Afghanistan’s foreign assets that they froze following the Taliban’s rapid return to power in mid-August. He exposed their intent to exploit this as leverage for manipulating that group into making unilateral political concessions at the expense of average Afghans’ well-being. Nevertheless, Kabulov is convinced that this Machiavellian plot will fail as evidenced by the latest Oslo meeting. After all, “The Afghan Aid Game Is A Gamble That No One Can Afford To Lose”, especially Europe which risks having to deal with another major migrant crisis.

The Russian envoy also believes that steps are being taken towards internationally recognizing the Taliban but reminded everyone that this is dependent on that group becoming more ethno-politically inclusive. He nevertheless believes that they’re sincerely committed to doing so, which is something that Russia plans to continue supporting during the upcoming Extended Troika talks, the date of which has yet to be confirmed but is expected to take place in Kabul sometime later this month. It’s a positive sign though, he said, that Japan and other countries are planning to revive their diplomatic missions there.

On the security front, Kabulov confirmed that terrorist activity recently subsided in Afghanistan and cautioned against “indulg[ing] in excessive alarmism” about the situation along the Tajik border. Be that as it is, he also agreed with the Kazakhstani President’s claim that “foreign militants may have been moved to Kazakhstan from Afghanistan” after having “undergone combat training in Syria and Iraq.” Furthermore, Kabulov expressed concern about the possibility of large-scale resistance to the Taliban emerging during the traditional spring fighting season in that country.

In terms of geo-economic cooperation, the Russian envoy said that “We generally welcome higher interest showed by Kabul for development of bilateral relations with Moscow in oil and gas, energy and other spheres of trade and economic cooperation.” In particular, he hinted that Russian companies might also participate in construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, but only if they consider it profitable. This shows that Moscow is interested in comprehensively strengthening economic ties with Kabul as part of its unofficial “Ummah Pivot”.

All of these statements confirm that Russia’s stance towards Afghanistan is indeed very pragmatic and mutually beneficial. The Eurasian Great Power is playing a responsible role in that war-torn country and has very accurate assessments of the situation there as well as realistic forecasts for how it might soon evolve. It’s also exciting to countenance the possible involvement of Russian energy companies in TAPI since that would be a masterstroke for Moscow’s “energy diplomacy” in the broader region. The takeaway from Kabulov’s interview is that observers can learn a lot about Afghanistan from Russia.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.

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Categories: Geopolitics, International Affairs

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