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Chaos in Afghanistan raises stakes for Russia

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KABUL: As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, Russia is becoming exponentially troubled by worsening security situation in the country and is trying to step in to shore up sagging defences of its allies bordering Afghanistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday expressed Kremlin’s extreme worries about quickly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and said Moscow was ready to defend its regional allies if necessary.

Lavrov echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s same proposition on Monday. Putin had offered military help to president of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon to thwart any threats arising from the NATO’s exit from Afghanistan.

This is as Tajikistan is drafting over 20,000 soldiers to bolster security across the border with Afghanistan after more than 1,000 Afghan security forces fled across the frontier to avoid Taliban onslaughts.

Speaking in Laos on Wednesday, Sergei Lavrov said Russia was ready to use one of its biggest military bases in Tajikistan to ensure the security of its allies in the region.

“We are closely watching what is happening in Afghanistan where the situation has a tendency to swiftly deteriorate including against the backdrop of the hasty exit of American and other NATO troops,” said Lavrov.

He reckoned that U.S. and NATO failed in “achieving visible results when it comes to stabilising the situation during the decades they spent there”.

Lavrov emphasized that Russia was fully committed to military obligations it had undertaken to protect Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, in the framework of Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

“We will do everything we can, including using the capabilities of the Russian military base on Tajikistan border with Afghanistan, to prevent any aggressive impulses towards our allies,” Lavrov said.

He said that CSTO representatives had visited the Tajik-Afghan border, most of which Russian officials say is reportedly under Taliban control from the Afghan side, in order to assess the situation and report back.

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