by Oleg Burunov
Afghanistan has been witnessing an escalation of violence since the United States and its NATO allies began withdrawing troops from the nation, in accordance with a deal between Washington and the Taliban*, signed in February 2020.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned of a risk of unrest in Afghanistan spilling over to neighbouring nations, adding that the situation in the country is “quickly degrading”.
“The threat of such a scenario remains a serious obstacle to the involvement of Afghanistan in regional cooperation”, Lavrov said during a plenary session of the conference “Central and South Asia. Regional Interconnection: Challenges and Opportunities” on Friday.
The top Russian diplomat also expressed regret that “in recent days we have witnessed a rapid degradation of the situation in Afghanistan”.
“In light of the hasty withdrawal of the US and NATO contingents [from Afghanistan], the uncertainty about the development of the military and political situation in this country and beyond has sharply increased”, Lavrov pointed out.
He added that the Afghan crisis is also exacerbating the terrorist threat and the problem of illegal drug trafficking, which, Lavrov said, has reached an unprecedented level.
The remarks follow the Russian foreign minister telling reporters about the “rather hasty withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan where they are “abandoning a huge amount of equipment […]”.
Earlier, Lavrov said the threat of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan is increasing in light of the US troop exit from the country, and that the pullout is a de facto admission that America’s mission in the nation has failed.
US Troop Exit From Afghanistan
In early July, the US Central Command said the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan was 90% complete.
With the deadline for a full exit scheduled for 11 September, General Austin Miller, NATO-led Resolute Support mission and United States Forces-Afghanistan commander, warned that Afghanistan might be on the path to civil war after Washington and its allies are through pulling out their troops.
The troop pullout was one of the points of an agreement reached between the Taliban and the United States in Doha in February 2020.
Right now, Afghanistan is seeing a spike in violence at the hands of the Taliban, which reportedly controls at least 212 districts in the country, while the Afghan government is in charge of just 70 districts.