Vladimir Putin signals ‘accepting’ Afghan-Taliban. Will the Central Asian Republics also follow?

Angela Merkil with Vladimir Putin in Russia

By Haider Abbas

The way US had to submit to its humiliation while leaving Afghanistan, after 20 years of its occupation is what the world-powers are looking at! But more so, it is also about the details, as leftovers of US, while it was to make its exit. A report on the same got published in The Independent on August 20 1 which informed a massive booty which has been left for the Afghan-Taliban (AT). It says, ‘Taliban haul of US military gear includes 2,000 armoured vehicles and 40 aircraft. This could include US Humvees, UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and Scan Eagle military drones.’ US is surely to feel the high-toll for the Black Hawks, and obviously, it has triggered a debate inside US Congress, as to what is now to be next as AT have all the US arsenal and weaponry at their disposal.


It may be anyone’s guess, with an understanding of international politics, that US President Joseph Biden , must have been right now ‘seething with anger’, as the way he has been again cornered by his rival Donald Trump, who spoke in Alabama, on August 22 2 , reported Reuters, about the US, “greatest foreign policy humiliation. Biden’s botched exit from Afghanistan is the most astonishing display of gross incompetence by a nation’s leader, perhaps at any time. This is not a withdrawal. This was a total surrender.” He referred to Vietnam (US exited from there in 1975) as a “master class in strategy compared to Joe Biden’s catastrophe. All you had to do is leave the soldiers there until everything is out, our citizens, our weapons, then you bomb the hell out of the bases. We have five bases and you say bye-bye, ” he said to the cheering crowd.

Now If Biden, ever goes ahead with a strike, it would need air-space from Pakistan, or from Central Asian republics. Pakistan is engaged in a tough-body-posturing with US and Central Asian Republics have also refused to US, to provide any military base, owing to pressure from Russia. For any probability, if yet Biden makes for it, it would warrant a reaction from Pakistan, Russia and even China, as all the three countries are now deep-neck into the affairs of Afghanistan. US further headache is the potentiality of its technology going into hands of China, Russia, Pakistan and even Iran, and the next worry, for US is the bargain AT would set-into for this transfer? As AT have declared China as friend and China in reciprocation is likely to put-into its weight around AT to bolster the Afghanistan economy, which has been left to ruins, in the last two-decades of US occupation.
Another extremely important development is a positive-signal from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been behind AT from a long time, often loathed by US, on August 20, according to US News Chant, in which Putin made it clear as to what lies ahead between AT and Russia. The headline spoke for itself, ‘Putin welcomes the Taliban: Russian President says the West should not impose ‘outdoors values’. Putin criticised the ‘irresponsible coverage’ and mentioned ‘you can not impose requirements of political life and behavior on different individuals from outdoors’. It comes as China has additionally moved in the direction of recognising the Taliban regime. Putin mentioned it was not in Russia’s pursuits to dwell on the results of the 20-year-old US army marketing campaign in Afghanistan, which has resulted in humiliating scenes of chaos at Kabul airport as states frantically attempt to evacuate their residents. Interestingly, Putin took the opportunity to air his views in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she is on a visit to Kremlin. The report further stated. ‘Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and mentioned it was vital to determine good and neighbourly relations with the new management’

This single step from Putin, to come out publically, and that too in the presence of Angela Merkel, is surely to have dashed the US hopes to no end. His exhortation towards the world powers is to assuage the prevalent ground-realities, as Russia was already ‘into-its-way’ to work with the new dispensation in Afghanistan. Putin message was in fact also to desist world powers from any further external interference into the Afghanistan polity, and that Russia was now ready to recognize AT. The Russian President stand is surely to bolster the prospects for AT, as primarily all the Central Asian counties, out of their dependence and influence of Russia, along with Pakistan, Iran and sometime later Turkey, are most likely to recognize the AT government, once the US is to make its final adieu. This is not withstanding the fact that China is already ‘quite-ahead’ in its liaison with the AT government. China’s embassy in Kabul is functioning normal.

Putin has surely put an effort to convince Angela Merkel and this came-into, so very soon, as British Army Chief Nick Carter on August 18 4 , tells Reuters , had opined that AT ought to be given space! He referred them as country-boys. ‘”We have to be patient, we have to hold our nerve and we have to give them the space to form a government and we have to give them the space to show their credentials. It may be that this Taliban is a different Taliban to the one that people remember from the 1990s.”We may well discover, if we give them the space, that this Taliban is of course more reasonable.” It is also true that in its wake Carter has triggered a controversy inside Britain, as obviously, Britain too had seen many of its soldiers getting killed in Afghanistan during this so-called fruitless war.

It is Russia which has set the tempo, in the recent years, as Russia scuttled the US game-plan in Syria and made Basshar Al Asad sustain the last couple of years. Putin’s role into ending the recent 11-days war between Israel-Palestine into a ‘ceasefire’, could come only when Putin directly threatened Israel ambassador to Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi of a ‘Russian attack’ if the next civilian was to die. This again made the US to cut-a-sorry-figure. Moreover, apart from the vocal Russian support, may be also that the world is waking to the reality, that Afghanistan is a vast reservoir of rare-earth elements (up to 3 trillion dollars worth) which will be worthy for the world-economy to run in the next century. As the oil is now to be a passé.

No wonder , the Turkish President Taiyyip Erdogan, despite initial hiccups, has come forward to engage into a dialogue with AT. But despite, all the build-up scenario, yet US might hazard an air- strike to salvage its pride, as US is debating Biden to have been caught like a deer in headlight, reflected an article in Financial Times on August 20 5 .

Let’s see what is to happen as next?


The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and a political analyst.

2- https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trump-assails-biden-afghanistan-humiliation-2021-08-22/
4- https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/taliban-could-be-different-this-time-britains-army-chief-says-2021-08-18/
5- https://www.ft.com/content/c6e012d4-fe69-4579-a1b0-997c1a1e1bc9



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