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Putin says he’s worried that Afghan ‘militants’ might try to enter Russia ‘under cover of refugees’

Summary List PlacementRussian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he was concerned that Afghan "militants" posing as refugees might try to make their way into Russia from the Central Asian countries where they're currently being housed. Putin said he did not want Afghan "militants appearing (in Russia) again under the guise of refugees," reported Reuters.  Putin criticized the United States for asking Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — to temporarily house up to 9,000 Afghans fleeing Kabul  — especially because Russia has no visa restrictions with some of these countries. "We share common borders, but there are no visa restrictions....

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) after their bilateral meeting at the Grand Kremlin Palace on August 20, 2021 in Moscow, Russia.

Summary List Placement

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he was concerned that Afghan “militants” posing as refugees might try to make their way into Russia from the Central Asian countries where they’re currently being housed.

Putin said he did not want Afghan “militants appearing (in Russia) again under the guise of refugees,” reported Reuters. 

Putin criticized the United States for asking Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — to temporarily house up to 9,000 Afghans fleeing Kabul  — especially because Russia has no visa restrictions with some of these countries.

“We share common borders, but there are no visa restrictions. Imagine that refugees entered any of these countries. Who is among these refugees? How do we know,” Putin said, according to TASS.

He called the approach of Western countries placing Afghan refugees temporarily in Central Asian countries while their visas were being processed “humiliating.”

“They think they can send them without visas to our neighbors [Central Asian countries], but refuse to receive them in their own countries without visas,” Putin said at a meeting with the United Russia party members, reported Russian news agency TASS, adding ” What a humiliating approach to solving this issue is it?” 

It was reported earlier this month that the US was in secret talks with countries to temporarily house Afghan refugees who worked for the US government, per Reuters

And as early as July, the Biden administration had asked three Central Asia countries — Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — to temporarily house as many as 9,000 at-risk Afghans who worked for the US, reported Bloomberg

Russia appears to be casting a blind eye to the chaos in Kabul. 

“The situation is peaceful and good, and everything has calmed down in the city,” Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirno told Moscow news station Ekho Moskvy last Monday, a day after the Taliban took over, reported Reuters.

However, since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul a week ago, there has been chaos and violence at and around Kabul’s airport. There have also been reports that the Taliban executed a blindfolded Afghan police chief and set a woman on fire for “bad cooking.”

In the last week, Russia has taken a pragmatic and calculated approach to the Taliban. It has not yet recognized the Taliban as the new government of Afghanistan, but did take meetings with leadership from the group within 48 hours of its takeover, reported the BBC

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