Russia worried by Afghan ‘ethnic strife’


Moscow has expressed concerns over widespread protests over ethnic issues in northern Afghanistan, and asked the Islamic Emirate to not allow inflam-matory individuals to fuel ethnic tensions in the region.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zak-harova, talking at a briefing on Thursday, said that the protests in northern Afghanistan had taken place over the detention of a Taliban commander of the Uzbek ethnic group on charges of committing ille-gal acts. She asked the Islamic Emirate to not suc-cumb to provocations staged by destructive ele-ments.

“We are concerned over the ethnic protests that broke out in the north of the country. They were sparked by the arrest of a Taliban field commander, an ethnic Uzbek, on charges of illegal actions. We hope the new authorities will not succumb to provo-cations staged by destructive elements, which are aimed at fueling ethnic strife with a view to destabi-lizing the situation during this difficult time for the country,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate says that Makh-doom Alam had been arrested on charges of in-volvement in kidnapping.

“Addressing ethnic politics in governance in a country like Afghanistan will increase the distance between the government and the nation and will increase instability, unrest and economic challenges in the country,” said Fakhruddin Qarizada, former advisor of ministry of foreign affairs.

“I think their concern is unfounded, because the Islamic Emirate has the ability to control move-ments against public security,”said Hamid Aziz Mojadidi, a university lecturer.

Moscow called on the Islamic Emirate to step up efforts against the Islamic Khurasan Province (ISKP) and Hizb ut-Tahrir in Takhar province, given the terrorist activities in the northern prov-inces bordering Central Asia.

Although Russia and Tajikistan have always been concerned about possible threats from Afghanistan, Kabul has pledged that Afghanistan’s territory will not be used against any country. “Indeed, it [the situation with terrorist threat in Af-ghanistan] has worsened, it is true, it keeps deterio-rating,” Putin told a meeting with the parliamentary leadership.

“But if the US were not there, it would probably be worse,” the president said. Russia and the US “have complex relationship, but we must approach the subject objectively,” Putin said.

He said that Taliban gunmen are stationed practi-cally along the whole border between Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. However, encouraging signals are also seen in spite of everything, Putin stressed. “I spoke with the president of Turkmeni-stan today, and he reiterated his plans to build a gas transmission system across Afghanistan and further to its neighbors – Pakistan and India,” Putin said.

“He invites us to participate. Generally, certain pro-jects are indeed implemented there, and quite suc-cessfully, including by Turkmenistan. But we must take a look, of course, at how feasible projects of this kind will be,” the Putin noted.

The appearance in Afghanistan of Daesh insurgents that have already begun confrontations with Taliban is an alarming factor, Putin said. “This additionally worsens the situation there,” the president stressed.—Tolonews


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