Russia accuses Washington of forcing Central Asia to take in Afghans

(Budapest) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States, on Tuesday, of wanting to force Central Asian countries, Russia’s allies, to welcome Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

Lavrov, during his visit to Hungary, criticized Washington’s “persistent and intransigent measures to persuade a number of countries in Central Asia and other regions to welcome Afghan citizens who cooperate with member states of the United States and NATO.”

“They say it only takes two or three months before they welcome them, and they just need time to issue them visas,” he added.

Afghans who worked with US forces may have been subjected to strict security checks. Why do you need another two months to grant a visa to these people? He questioned accusing the United States of not respecting the Central Asian countries.

About 1,500 Afghans managed to reach neighboring Uzbekistan after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and are now living in tents near the border, according to the Afghan embassy in Tashkent.

And on Sunday, President Vladimir Putin also complained that “our Western partners insist on welcoming refugees in Central Asian countries until they get a visa to the United States or other countries.”

The Russian president has called for preventing the influx of Afghan refugees.

Putin said that many of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia have borders with Afghanistan and Russia, so “militants disguised as refugees” could reach Russian territory.

Above all, Uzbekistan wants to avoid the emergence of armed groups inspired by or supporting Afghan Islamists, as was the case in the late 1990s and 2000s.

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After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Uzbekistan for some time housed the military bases of the US-led coalition participating in Afghanistan.

Russia, for its part, is cautiously optimistic about the new force in Kabul.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it was “carefully watching” the “disagreements” over a possible extension of the August 31 deadline for the full withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

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