Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have reportedly agreed to break ground on their countries’ first joint project in Afghanistan despite backing opposing sides in the Afghan war.
While the United States has praised India for supporting Afghanistan’s government, it has lambasted Russia for allegedly lending support to the Taliban, which has been linked to terrorist groups that threaten Indian soil.
Russia denies backing the Taliban.
India and Russia’s decision to join forces in Afghanistan on a project likely to be focused on the country’s development sector comes soon after the U.S. Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported that America’s stabilization efforts in the South Asian nation have “mostly failed.”
Referring to the joint venture, the Indian Express reports:
This is the first time that the two countries will undertake a joint project — possibly in the development sector — in Afghanistan. This also comes close on the heels of the informal summit in Wuhan, China, where Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to work on a project in Afghanistan after four hours of one-on-one conversation.
Sources told The Indian Express that Modi proposed the idea for the joint project in Afghanistan, which Putin readily accepted.
“Unlike in Wuhan, where Xi had proposed the Afghanistan project, here Modi took the initiative with Russia,” the source told the Indian Express.
Echoing the position of the majority of the American public, Russia and the Taliban have said the United States lost the Afghan war and should pull out its troops.
The U.S. insists Kabul must lead negotiations with the Taliban despite the terrorist group’s position that it prefers to engage in “direct talks” with the American government.
Awash in millions in funding from the unprecedented levels of opium and heroin production, the Taliban’s top money source, the terrorist group has refused to accept Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of a ceasefire and official recognition as a political group.
The production and cultivation of opium have increased in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban’s control of territory in the country, which has reached historic proportions.
Taliban narco-jihadists maintain links to terrorist groups known to carry out attacks in neighboring China and India.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing for “regional ownership” of the conflicts involving American troops, urging local nations to fight for peace in their own backyard.
Russia, China, India, and Afghanistan share the same neighborhood.
In the late 80s, Russia withdrew from Afghanistan after losing to U.S.-backed fighters, including some members of the Taliban. The U.S. invaded Afghan territory in October 2001 after the Taliban helped al-Qaeda prepare for the 9/11 attacks.