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Putin says USA’s 20-year war in Afghanistan achieved nothing but tragedy and loss of lives

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the US military’s 20-year campaign in Afghanistan as tragedy and loss of life on all sides

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the US military’s 20-year campaign in Afghanistan had achieved nothing but tragedy and loss of life on all sides.

"U.S. forces were present on this territory for 20 years and for 20 years tried … to civilise the people who live there, to instil their own norms and standards of life in the widest possible sense of this word, including when it comes to the political organisation of society," said Putin.

"The result is only tragedies and losses of life for those who did it, the United States, and even more so for those people who live on the territory of Afghanistan. The result is zero, if not a negative one all round."

The Russian President was addressing teenagers in the country’s far eastern city of Vladivostok to mark the start of the school year.

Last week, Putin said Russia would not interfere in Afghanistan and that Moscow had learned from the Soviet occupation of the country.

He has also complained about Western countries trying to place Afghan refugees in Moscow-allied Central Asian states.

While Russia has welcomed the U.S. exit from Afghanistan it has also created a security problem for Moscow, as it fears that an ascendant Taliban poses a danger of radical Islam spreading across adjoin Central Asian Republics.

Russia has also stepped up military exercises near the Afghanistan border to send out a clear message to terror outfits. Around 500 motorised infantry troops from Russia's military base in Tajikistan had this week carried out drills in the mountains near the Afghanistan border. The country’s defence ministry said test firing from a S-300 air defence system in a simulated attack on the base was also undertaken as part of the exercise.

This is for the third time this month that Russia has carried out a military exercise close to the Afghanistan border.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said on Saturday Moscow would work more closely with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alliance of six former Soviet states, as withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan raises regional security risks.

Also read: UK reaches out to Russia and China as global equations shift in Afghanistan