Putin and Biden Discussed Afghanistan at Their Summit
July 17, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the possibility of Russia helping the U.S. by monitoring the situation inside Afghanistan from Russian military bases in Central Asian countries. According to a report in the Russian business daily Kommersant, as cited by Sputnik, the discussions are said to have included a proposal by Putin to use Russian bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, possibly to provide the U.S. with information obtained through the use of drones. The U.S. “hasn’t given a clear answer for now,” according to one source. Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed to RBC that the situation in Afghanistan was on the agenda of the June 16 summit, but did not comment on whether the discussions included talks about Russia’s Central Asian bases. Similarly, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has also not commented on the Kommersant report.
Sputnik reports that the Russian military has a sizable presence in Tajikistan, an ally of Moscow in the Collective Security Treaty Organization, that includes some 7,000 troops equipped with tanks and other armored vehicles, aircraft, including helicopters and drones, and S-300 air defense systems. The Russian deployment in Kyrgyzstan, which does not border Afghanistan, is not so large but still includes Su-25 attack jets and helicopters.