Monday October 18, 2021

ISS panel discussion: ‘Russia not interested in disintegration of Afghanistan’

September 09, 2021
ISS panel discussion: ‘Russia not interested in disintegration of Afghanistan’

Islamabad: Dr. Alexander A Kornilov from Lobachevsky State University, Nizhni Novgorod, said that Afghanistan cannot be conquered and cannot be won adding that Russia is not interested in the disintegration of Afghanistan. Officials in Russia have made it clear that if the government in Afghanistan partners with regional countries, it will be able to counter all external and violent threats within the country.

He was speaking at a panel discussion on “Conversations on the evolving situation in Afghanistan: Russia’s role in Afghanistan” organised here by the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS).

He said the sooner the Taliban form a government, the easier it would be for the group to communicate with other countries. He also pointed out that Qatar and Turkey will now be actively and deeply involved in the process in Kabul. He said that the future government must be representative and inclusive which will be sustainable for a certain period without facing any major internal political threat.

With regards to the future role of India in Afghanistan, Dr. Alexander said that given that there is now more cohesion and trust between Russia, China, and Pakistan, Pakistan is a very important country.

Dr Nigel Gould-Davies from International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said that Russia being a near neighbour of Afghanistan is rightly concerned about the evolving situation. He said the recent fall of Kabul was different from the past and this time, the Taliban are seen as a stabilising force. He said the Taliban must not look beyond the borders of Afghanistan and with respect to foreign forces, they must be assured that there will be no interference. He voiced his scepticism about how stable a Taliban government would be in the backdrop of reports of violence coming out from Afghanistan. He pointed out that the Taliban remain a banned organisation in Russia even though Russia is one of the first countries whom the Taliban have invited for the inauguration of their new government.

Dr. Omar Samad from Atlantic Council said that Russia was recalibrating its position when the government of Ashraf Ghani was involved in corruption, mismanagement, and bad governance which eventually led Russia to open its doors for the Taliban.

He said Russia wants inclusivity in the future government in Afghanistan. Qazi M. Khalilullah, Executive Director, Centre for International Strategic Studies Sindh, said that the Taliban need the help of regional countries and should be provided due to humanitarian assistance.

Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary, Director-General, ISS, said that we see quite a bit of congruence between Russia and all regional countries in their approach towards amnesty in Afghanistan. Though the Taliban have given assurances, the challenges have, however, only begun and we have yet to see to what extent will the Taliban live up to their commitments.