Putin backs Taliban in its demand to unfreeze assets

Russian President Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW:  Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support Thursday for a key demand of the Taliban, urging Western countries to unfreeze Afghanistan’s financial assets.

Speaking at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Putin said Western countries bear “the main responsibility” for what is happening in Afghanistan.

“The main responsibility for what is happening there is being borne by those countries that have been fighting there for 20 years. And the first thing they should do, in my opinion, is to unfreeze the Afghan assets to give Afghanistan a possibility to solve socio-economic problems of paramount importance,” he said.

The Russian leader also praised the Taliban for their efforts in fighting the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group in Afghanistan, noting there are victims among the movement.

He also complimented Pakistan’s role in the Afghan settlement, saying it is one of the most important players in the region.

Putin also commended US President Joe Biden, saying his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan was right

“He did the right thing by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. He probably understood, maybe he didn’t know in detail how this would happen, but he understood that one way or another, domestically, this would be one of the lines of attack, but he went for it — accepted, assumed this responsibility,” he said.

Russia is interested in having a calm, developing Afghanistan free of the terrorist threat and drug trafficking, and for that, it is necessary to help Afghanistan restore the economy, Putin added.

The pullout could have been done differently, but as time passes, everything will fall into place, he said.

As for the security issues, Russian law enforcement maintains necessary contacts with the relevant Afghan structures, he said.

He also said it would be interesting to hold one of the meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club in Afghanistan in the future.-AA


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