Vladimir Putin Rejects Military Mission into Afghanistan: 'We Learned Our Lesson'

Vladimir Putin Rejects Military Mission into Afghanistan: 'We Learned Our Lesson'

Russia will not attempt a military intervention in Afghanistan, as the country has “learned the lesson” from its previous failed attempts to invade it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

“You know how difficult and alarming the situation in Afghanistan currently is,” President Putin said at a congress of the ruling United Russia party on August 24. He referred to the Taliban terror group’s takeover of the country August 15, when it deposed Kabul’s U.S.-backed government.

“We are keeping a close eye on this situation, actively cooperating with our allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO),” Putin assured. The CSTO is a regional military alliance of former Soviet republics led by Moscow.

“Naturally, we will not interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs, neither will our armed forces be drawn into this all-against-all conflict. I think this is what is going on there,” Putin said Tuesday. He then recalled that “the conflict in Afghanistan has been smoldering for decades,” according to Russia’s state-owned news agency, TASS.

“The former Soviet Union has its own experience in that country. We have learned the lesson,” Putin asserted.

The former Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan in 1979 to support the country’s then-communist government as it fought against anti-communist Muslim guerrilla groups during the Afghan War (1978–1992).

Putin on July 5 assured Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon that Moscow would provide “all necessary support” to Tajikistan as it confronted a then-unfolding security threat from Afghanistan, with which it shares an 843-mile-long border. The Taliban at the time was sweeping across the country as part of a successful military campaign to reconquer major cities and provinces on its way to toppling Kabul. Afghan government soldiers and refugees fleeing the Taliban’s offensive began to flood Tajikistan by early July, creating a massive border problem for the ex-Soviet state and CSTO member.

Gabrielle Reyes