Putin has warned that the sudden collapse of the Afghan government poses a serious security threat to Russia and other countries that border Afghanistan due to the potential influx of terrorists crossing borders pretending to be refugees.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference yesterday (22nd August) that he believes that terrorists will try to use refugees as cover to sneak into central Asian countries bordering Afghanistan.
Putin said: “Who are these refugees? How can we tell? There may be thousands or even millions of them.”
He added: “The border is a thousand kilometres – they will get on everything, a car, even a donkey, and flee across the steppe.”
The president cited past security issues Russia has had with the separatist movement in the Muslim-majority region of Chechyna saying: “We don’t want a repeat of what happened in the 90s and early 2000s.”
The United States and NATO allies have been evacuating Afgan nationals from Kabul who worked with their forces on the ground.
Putin commented on plans to resettle some translators employed by the US and its allies in Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan as “humiliating” and a “threat to national security”.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan and Kabul in just a matter of weeks taking the US and its allies by surprise.
The evacuation of locals who have co-operated with the USA and its allies during the two-decade-long conflict has been chaotic with images of crowds of people desperately trying to board planes becoming a common sight in the Afghan capital.
According to Al-Jazeera, many evacuees are passing through ‘transit countries’ some of which are ex-Soviet and countries Putin considers to be ‘his own back yard’ such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Al-Jazeera reports that as of yesterday (22nd August), 28,000 people had been evacuated from Kabul with the USA estimated to be responsible for 20,000 of the evacuations.
According to the Biden administration, there are a further 50,000-60,000 Afghan nationals who are expected to be evacuated.
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