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22nd Aug 2021

Putin won’t evacuate Afghans in case ‘militants show up under cover of refugees’

Danny Jones

Vladimir Putin will not help evacuate Afghan civilians over fears of militants pretending to be refugees

Putin rejected the idea of sending help to evacuate people from Afghanistan to countries near Russia

The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, has criticised the suggestion posed by some Western countries that Afghan refugees should be relocated to neighbouring Central Asian countries while their visas to the United States and Europe are being processed.

As reported by Reuters, Putin was quoted by TASS News Agency as having said, “We don’t want militants showing up here under cover of refugees”. This would not likely be their end destination but still, the 68-year-old apparently isn’t willing to take the security risk.

Moreover, he is said to have gone on to tell party members “Does that mean that they can be sent without visas to those countries, to our neighbours, while they themselves (the West) don’t want to take them without visas? Why is there such a humiliating approach to solving the problem?”

The US is also said to have held secret talks with a number of countries in an attempt to secure last-minute deals to temporarily house at-risk Afghans who worked for the American government.

Putin said Russia – which allows visa-free travel for residents of ex-Soviet Central Asian countries – also opposes this suggestion. While some Western nations scrambled to evacuate people from Afghanistan, with the UK set to receive around 20,000 refugees, Moscow has praised the Taliban for “restoring order” following its takeover of the country.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Taliban leaders had “stuck” to their promises so far, despite reports of women being killed for not wearing burqas within hours of the press conference that spoke of the regime having “changed”.

Lavrov said: “We are seeing the statements the Talibs made about ceasing combat actions, an amnesty for all of those involved in the confrontation, about a need for a nationwide dialogue … they are being implemented”. Russia had backed Afghanistan under Taliban rule for some time and it seems apparent that remnants of that relationship still remain and could be resurfacing.

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