Russia’s Influence in Afghanistan to ‘Become Stronger’ Once American Troops Leave, US Analyst Says

The security situation in Afghanistan, which has witnessed a rise in terrorist strikes as US-led Afghan talks in Doha falter, was a major point of discussion during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s official visits to Pakistan and India last week. In Islamabad, Lavrov said that Afghanistan was a “common concern” for Pakistan and Russia.

Moscow’s influence in Afghanistan will become “stronger” once American troops leave Afghanistan, Michael Kugelman, a South Asian Affairs expert and current deputy director of the Asia Programme at US-based think tank Wilson Centre, believes.

The American expert adds that Russia, “with its improving relations with Kabul, can be seen as an important and influential diplomatic actor in Afghanistan.”

The observations arrive as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov concludes his two-nation visit to India and Pakistan, with the Afghan reconciliation process figuring prominently during talks between the leaderships of the two countries.

At a press briefing on the outcomes of Lavrov’s last week visit, Moscow’s Envoy to New Delhi Nikolay Kudashev said on Wednesday that both the countries shared a “convergence” of interests that the intra-Afghan Peace process must be “Afghan-led” and “inclusive.”

Lavrov’s subcontinent visit came ahead of America’s 1 May troop withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan as part of the peace process. In his first ever press conference as US president last month, Joe Biden said that he couldn’t “picture” American…

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