KABUL – Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said that Western nations are intensifying their engagement with armed groups in Afghanistan, raising security concerns for Central Asian countries due to the growing influence of international terrorist organizations there.
Shoigu addressed this issue during the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security. He said the primary challenges and threats to the region are emerging from Afghanistan, where the influence of international terrorist organizations is on the rise following the end of the long-standing US protectorate.
Shoigu highlighted that Western countries are expanding their involvement with various ethnic-based armed formations that are not Pashtun. Their actions appear to serve a dual purpose: creating conflict hotspots in the border regions of partner countries and offering military assistance to quell these artificially generated conflicts. However, he pointed out that these actions often overlook the interests of civilians and the stability of government authorities.
Addressing military capabilities, Shoigu refuted the notion that Russian weapons are invulnerable on today’s battlefield. He noted that in many instances, Soviet-made military equipment outperforms Western models in terms of combat qualities. The Russian Defense Ministry possesses data regarding the effective utilization of Western weaponry and is prepared to share assessments of their weaknesses with partners.
Shoigu also mentioned that similar circumstances exist concerning troop training and special military operations. He referenced statements from high-ranking NATO officials indicating that over 75,000 Ukrainian troops underwent military training in line with Western standards. Many of these troops were subsequently deployed to the frontlines, captured, and disclosed detailed information about NATO’s training methods. Most captured troops expressed unfavorable opinions about Western military training practices.
Shifting focus to Africa, Shoigu emphasized the importance of countering neocolonialism and the terrorist threat. He asserted that discussions during the Russia-Africa summit reaffirmed the fundamental nature of cooperation in these areas. Shoigu criticized Western activities on the African continent, asserting that their primary aim is to maintain access to national resources of former colonies by supporting conflict zones. Various antigovernment and terrorist groups are being exploited to further this agenda.