Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he hopes the Taliban will behave in a “civilized” manner in Afghanistan so the global community can maintain diplomatic ties with Kabul.
“Russia is not interested in the disintegration of Afghanistan. If this happens, then there will be no one to talk to,” Putin said.
He was speaking at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok.
“The sooner the Taliban will enter the family of civilized people, so to speak, the easier it will be to contact, communicate, and somehow influence and ask questions,” he added.
The longtime Russian leader said the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan completed last month had ended in “catastrophe.”
“They spent $1.5 trillion on this whole campaign and what is the result? There isn’t any,” Putin said.
Russia has treaded carefully in its dealings with the militant group that swept to power in Afghanistan this summer.
Russia’s ambassador in Kabul met with representatives of the Taliban several days after the takeover and said Moscow will maintain its embassy in the country.
Last week, Russia started evacuating its citizens and those of several ex-Soviet states as the security situation in the country worsened.
Russia has warned about extremist groups using the political turmoil to enter neighboring countries as refugees.
Afghanistan shares a border with three ex-Soviet states in Central Asia where Russia holds military bases.
Putin Forms Law Enforcement ‘Reserve’ on Standby for Belarus
President Vladimir Putin has formed a reserve of Russian law enforcement officers standing by to be sent to Belarus, he said in a new interview that aired Thursday.
Putin said he created the reserve at the request of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who faces mass demonstrations in his country weeks after a disputed election he claims to have won in a landslide.
Russia will not deploy these forces unless “extremist elements in Belarus cross a line and start plundering,” Putin said in the interview with the state-run Rossia 24 broadcaster.
“We’ve agreed that the reserve will not be used until the situation starts getting out of control,” Putin said.
On Sunday, Lukashenko and his 15-year-old son were filmed carrying automatic weapons and wearing bulletproof vests while flying to his residential palace as an unprecedented opposition rally took place in central Minsk.
In recent days, he has ordered multiple war games, increased border security and deployed troops in Minsk as a show of force to protesters and foreign powers.