The Taliban* seized power in Afghanistan on 15 August after the group’s troops entered the capital Kabul and the country’s President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation. The insurgent group’s final offensive took place amid the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country.
The situation in Afghanistan “collapsed” after the hasty withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated in a speech at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad, Russia. In the minister’s opinion, this outcome clearly shows the importance of cooperation between western nations and Russia in terms of resolving global conflicts and crises.
Lavrov stressed that Russia does not plan to communicate with purely terrorist groups in Afghanistan, but noted that the Taliban has a political wing.
Sputnik / Ramil SitdikovRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a press conference following a meeting in Moscow with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Abdel Latyf bin Rashid Az-Zayani.
While officials from several western countries described the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as a mistake, US President Joe Biden defended the move in his 16 August address. POTUS argued that even 20 more years of deployment wouldn’t have changed the situation in Afghanistan, adding that American soldiers should not be fighting in a foreign war that the Afghan people themselves don’t want to fight for, apparently referring to the failure of Kabul’s former army to defend cities instead abandoning them for the Taliban to capture.
The US president was criticised domestically for his decision to go ahead with the troop pullout with his predecessor Donald Trump calling for Biden’s resignation over his policies regarding Afghanistan, as well as those at home. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan, mirrored by NATO, was set in motion in 2020, when the Trump administration signed a peace deal with the Taliban. The accord was upheld by Biden, who nonetheless, shifted the deadline for withdrawal to a later date.
Against the backdrop of the western withdrawal, the Taliban launched an offensive against government forces, seizing the entire country in a matter of months. The Afghan Army often surrendered towns and cities without a fight and many of Kabul’s troops switched sides in the conflict. This resulted in the Taliban seizing Kabul on 15 August as the country’s President Ashraf Ghani fled on a plane, presumably filled with cash. The Taliban declared the end of hostilities in the country on the same day, saying the war was “over”.