Putin Objects to U.S. Ending Afghan War: ‘We Will Have to Spend More’

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Putin has rejected the accusations of the Kremlin's involvement in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, saying that he …
Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview Sunday that he opposes the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan, as it poses “many risks” for regional security and may result in Russia having to invest more in the region.

Putin argued that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan promotes security and does not violate any of Moscow’s interests.

“Initially, we backed U.S. forces’ presence in Afghanistan and earlier voted in favor of a respective U.N. Security Council resolution,” Putin said. “I still believe that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan does not run counter to our external interests.”

He continued:

On the contrary, when it was announced that the Americans are preparing to withdraw their military contingent – yes, our official position is that maybe this creates additional conditions for a kind of Afghan reconciliation – but I personally think that this creates many risks.

First, we will have to spend more to maintain stability and second, no matter what, still U.S. presence in Afghanistan contributes to stability in the country and their exit creates risks. We don’t have to fight against the Americans’ presence there.

Putin added that Washington’s willingness to share data with his security forces has also been useful in preventing acts of domestic terrorism, with Russia regularly subject to plots and attacks from jihadist militants.

“We view the Americans’ effort in Afghanistan as an anti-terrorist effort. They hand over and repeatedly handed over data to us,” he explained. “I thanked incumbent President [Donald Trump] because the information that we received from America helped us prevent several terrorist acts in Russia. In our turn, we are trying to do the same and we have such an agreement with the incumbent U.S. president that if this information emerges, we will share it and help each other.”

President Donald Trump announced this month that he intends to bring all military personnel serving in Afghanistan home to the U.S. by Christmas, bringing an end to nearly 20 years of operations and trillions of dollars spent in the country as part of the war on terror launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Trump’s plan to bring home all troops from Afghanistan followed the resumption of negotiations with the Taliban, who welcomed this month’s announcement despite the recent collapse in talks.

“The Islamic Emirate [Taliban] welcomes these remarks and considers it a positive step for the implementation of the agreement signed between The IEA [Taliban] and the U.S.,” the organization said in a statement. “The IEA [Taliban] is also committed to the contents of the agreement and hopes for good and positive relations with all countries, including the US, in the future.”

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