Russia this week warned the United States military to stay out of Central Asian nations bordering Afghanistan, such as Tajikistan, while emphasizing this is Russia's own sphere of influence and that the window for American and NATO attempts to stabilize Afghanistan have long ago come and gone.
This after earlier this month Taliban leadership boasted of having taken 85% of the country, something Kabul authorities balked at, while also admitting that clashes are growing fiercer and in many more places. President Biden last week also declared US "objectives achieved" and said the troop draw down would be "complete" by August 31st; however, the Kremlin is now declaring that Washington has utterly "failed" in Afghanistan after two decades there.
The provocative comments by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came in a press conference in Uzbekistan on Friday. He further strongly suggested that the US is now fumbling the draw down, which is contributing to the country once again descending into war-torn chaos. Crucially the security summit was attended Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Lavrov said the White House is steadfast on portraying the Afghan mission in "the most positive colors" while it remains that "everyone understands that the mission failed".
Among the specific dire outcomes he pointed to included the resurgence of Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorists in the region, and that Afghan drug production and trafficking are booming. Russian officials have long maintained that instability in Central Asia has a direct impact on Russia's own border regions.
"In recent days we have unfortunately seen a rapid deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan," he said according to Russian media. "In light of the hasty withdrawal of the US and NATO troops, there is huge uncertainty around the future of the political and military situation in this country," he explained to reporters.
"It’s clear that, in this situation, there is a real risk of instability spreading to neighboring countries". Currently Russian allies like Tajikistan are greatly bolstering their border forces and are allowing Russian military drills. International reports indicated Tajikistan's army is sending some 20,000 extra reservists to the border with Afghanistan, after thousands of refugees and even hundreds of Afghan national troops have poured in amid Taliban advances.
FM #Lavrov: US is not just withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. It is withdrawing them de facto having admitted that its 20-year-long mission failed. The terrorist threat has not diminished. On the contrary, it has increased many times over since 2001, when the US went there pic.twitter.com/qYRw8yLvgB— Russia in RSA 🇷🇺 (@EmbassyofRussia) July 12, 2021
Interestingly the Russian foreign minister also called proposed Pentagon plans to deploy forces to surrounding countries a 'failure' as well...
"First of all, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have already officially announced that this is out of the question, they will not place such infrastructure on their territory. […] None of our allies announced their intention to expose their territory, their population to such a risk," Lavrov said.
Indeed late last month in an interview with Axios' Jonathan Swan, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed the door shut on the possibility of hosting CIA or US troops for cross-border security raid from his country.
When asked by Swan , Khan said bluntly: "Absolutely not. There's no way we're going to allow it," Khan said, before repeating resolutely, "Absolutely not." Other regional countries have since followed in their voicing refusal to let the US establish a security foothold for potential future Afghan-related missions.