Executive Intelligence Review


Lavrov Expresses Concern over Afghanistan during Central Asia Tour

Feb. 4, 2019 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Kyrgyzstan, the first stop in his three-country trip to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as the United States continues with its talks with the Taliban for a possible troop exit from Afghanistan. During his press conference at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, following talks with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chingiz Aidarbekov today, Lavrov expressed his concerns about Afghanistan, and said “there is a need to search for a political solution apart from resolving security issues. Russia has been calling for intra-Afghan dialogue, which would involve the government and the Taliban movement,” TASS quoted him as saying.

“Everyone agrees that dialogue between the government and the Taliban is inevitable. But some countries, namely the United States, seek to take control of this dialogue and conduct talks in secrecy.... Thus the countries of the region that care about what will become of Afghanistan are left in the dark as far as our American partners’ plans are concerned.”

Kyrgyz Ambassador to Russia Alikbek Dzhekshenkulov, a former Foreign Minister, gave an interview to TASS prior to Lavrov’s departure for Bishkek, in which he said,

“We’re worried about the situation in Afghanistan, where tensions are rising and clashes are continuing. There are reports of ISIS fighters in northern Afghanistan and the likelihood they will enter Tajikistan and then get into our territory is rising, unfortunately.”

Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, along with Russia, belong to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The third country that Lavrov will visit, Turkmenistan, which also borders Afghanistan, does not. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had said last April that Russia would take steps to reinforce military defenses in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to prevent infiltration of terrorists and drugs from northern Afghanistan. Russia has a military air base in Kyrgyzstan and there are reports that Kyrgyzstan may ask Russia to set up another military base. In Tajikistan, some 7,500 Russian troops are stationed.