Global Affairs

Russia's Afghan games

Russia is a major strategic winner as a result of America’s humiliating pullout from Afghanistan. Moscow has now greater clout and leverage in pursuing its interests in Central Asia and beyond.

Russian servicemen participate in joint military drills with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan near the Tajik-Afghan border in Tajikistan this month. The chaotic US pullout of Afghanistan has strengthened Russia's position in Central Asia.PHOTO: REUTERS

Neither a hasty retreat, nor a chaotic evacuation. As the United States and its Western allies spent the past two weeks desperately seeking to spirit out of Afghanistan as many of their citizens and local collaborators as possible, Russia did precisely nothing.

The Russian government greeted the Taliban victory in Afghanistan with a polite acknowledgement. And the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul continued to function normally, protected by rings of Taliban fighters; "They have guaranteed us that they will not touch the hair of a Russian diplomat," said Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitri Zhirnov, smiling broadly.

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