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Russian President Vladimir Putin rules out sending troops inside Afghanistan, citing Soviet Union’s debacle

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Instead, the Russians will rely heavily on diplomacy to form a stable government in Kabul, which does not  export drugs or terrorism in the region.

The Russians are also reinforcing security along Afghanistan’s border with Central Asian countries, Moscow’s backyard.

On Tuesday, Putin clarified that Russia was closely monitoring the conflict but will not let its armed forces be drawn into an all-against-all conflict, Tass news agency reported.

"You know how difficult and alarming the situation in Afghanistan currently is. We are keeping a close eye on this situation, actively cooperating with our allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)," Putin said at a congress of the ruling United Russia party. "Naturally, we will not interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs, neither will our armed forces be drawn into this all-against-all conflict. I think this is what is going on there,"

Putin pointed out that Afghanistan has been on the boil for decades. "The former Soviet Union has its own experience in that country. We have learned the lesson," he said.

Also Read: Russia and Afghanistan: A Tangled Past, Complicated Present and Uncertain Future

Instead of military involvement , Russia has stepped up diplomatic activism to help defuse the crisis, based on pragmatism and realism. "Now, after what has happened in Afghanistan on the ground when a new reality emerged, it is a reality now and it has to be taken into account whatever people’s thoughts on it are," Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said in Budapest.

He stressed that Moscow remains committed to establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan to eliminate threats of terrorism and drug trafficking which the entire region confronts. "I hope those who are now watching developments in Afghanistan will be guided by precisely this and not some politicised and ideological phobias," Lavrov observed.

Simultaneously, the Russians are steeling their defences in Central Asia, especially Tajikistan to prevent a spill over of extremism from Afghanistan. India Narrative had earlier reported that the Russians have deployed their latest Kornet anti-tank missile systems, to deter any intrusion by tanks and mechanised infantry from the Afghan side. The Kornet missiles have reinforced Russia’s 201st  military base inside Tajikistan, Tass news agency reported quoting the press office of Russia’s Central Military District.

Also read:  Russia steels Tajik frontline with new missiles to deter Taliban

"A batch of Kornet advanced anti-tank missile systems has arrived for the 201st Russian military base stationed in Tajikistan. The new systems have entered service with the Russian military formation’s artillery units," the statement says.

The report said that the 201st military base is Russia’s largest military facility outside its borders. The Russians have distributed their military assets in two Tajik cities–Dushanbe , Tajikistan’s capital, and Bokhtar.

Tajikistan, sharing a 1300 kms border with Afghanistan, has been fighting  a long and protracted civil war with the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) which wanted to overthrow the secular government and establish Sharia law. Many of its founders had served in Afghanistan during the days of Soviet occupation and had been radicalised there.

Russia spearheads the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) covering most of Central Asia.