Afghanistan Will Put Russia’s Regional Ambitions to the Test

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a virtual meeting with leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, in Moscow, Aug. 23, 2021 (Kremlin pool photo by Evgeniy Paulin via AP).
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a virtual meeting with leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, in Moscow, Aug. 23, 2021 (Kremlin pool photo by Evgeniy Paulin via AP).

While the failure of the United States’ two-decade campaign to reshape Afghanistan was a source of no little schadenfreude in Moscow, the collapse of Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government has thrust Russia into a challenging position. Even as President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russia has no intention of deploying troops to Afghanistan itself, the potential for radicalization and violence around Russia’s borders is foisting greater responsibility for regional security on Moscow at a time of mounting domestic difficulties.  The Ghani government’s collapse and the departure of U.S. forces from central Eurasia, seemingly for good, also offers Russia a window of opportunity to […]

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