Russia mobilises on Afghan borders

The Kremlin has announced that it will conduct military exercises on the borders with the Central Asian countries of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
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The situation in Afghanistan continues to unravel. The violence and disintegration of the Central Asian country has reached such a point that during the Eid Al Adha celebration three rockets hit near the presidential palace while Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani and other members of the government were praying for the Muslim holiday of the end of fasting. The government in Kabul accused the Taliban of carrying out the attack during a time of such significance for Muslims, but the insurgents denied responsibility.

Daesh eventually claimed responsibility for the attack on the presidential palace. This terrorist group is an expert in taking advantage of crisis situations in different countries to perpetrate attacks and gain strength, as it did in Iraq and Syria. Afghanistan is the perfect breeding ground for extremist groups such as Daesh to re-emerge.

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The situation in the Central Asian country is so devastating that Russia, which initially played down the Taliban's rapid advance in the region, has expressed its concern. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media that the situation in Afghanistan is "very alarming", adding that "it is a matter of concern for us".

"We, together with our partners in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and the countries bordering Afghanistan, are in constant contact, and we are certainly monitoring, how this situation is developing. So far, only alarming news is coming from there," Peskov said. Still, the Kremlin spokesman avoided commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin's views on the destabilising role being played by the Taliban in Afghanistan and his support for them at the negotiating table.

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The violence in the Central Asian country has begun to affect its neighbours as well, and Russia is aware of this. The Russian defence ministry has reported that several Russian tank units stationed in Tajikistan have arrived at the border with Afghanistan to carry out a series of military exercises in August. In an official statement, the Kremlin states that 'Russian tanks from the 201 base in Tajikistan made a 200-kilometre move from the Liaur military field to the Jarb Maidon military field on the border with Afghanistan'.

Russia has also announced that it will conduct military exercises in Uzbekistan in the Surjan Daria region, an area bordering Afghanistan. The exercises will take place from 30 July to 10 August and, according to the Russian defence ministry, will involve 1,500 Russian and Uzbek troops. The mobilisation of tanks and soldiers to the Afghan border, under the pretext of carrying out military exercises, coincides with the advance of the Taliban in the central Asian country, who in recent weeks have managed to take control of several border posts with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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Last April, US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of all US troops from the Central Asian country, thus ending its "mission". As a result of this news, NATO followed in the same footsteps as the US and announced the withdrawal of all international troops from Afghanistan. Faced with the power vacuum that this withdrawal left in the ranks of the Afghan National Army, the Taliban launched an offensive in May with the aim of regaining their share of power in the country. The insurgents now claim to control 85% of Afghanistan.

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Meanwhile, negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban are at a stalemate. Last weekend, government officials and leaders of the insurgent group met again in Doha to resume peace talks. The meeting ended without any rapprochement and Qatar's own mediator, Mutlaq al-Qahtani, expressed despair that the two sides had "barely agreed" to try to "avoid civilian casualties". Both the Kabul government and the Taliban accuse each other of "wasting time" as fighting and violence in the country escalate.