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Russia Does Not Want to See US Troops in Central Asia, Foreign Minister Says

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova / Go to the photo bankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.08.2021
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The governments of the nations in Central Asia previously turned down the idea of the US moving its military to one of several nearby countries after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that Moscow does not want to see American troops in the Central Asian countries to the south of Russia's border.
"First of all, Russia signed an agreement with these countries, which requires all members of the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organisation] to approve the deployment of foreign troops on the territory of a member state. Secondly, by deploying American soldiers, whose stated goal is to keep Afghanistan in the crosshairs and bomb it if needed, these countries would immediately turn themselves into a target for attacks", Lavrov said.
The minister said he doubts any of the countries in this region is actually willing to end up in the crosshairs only "to help the US satisfy its initiatives". In the past, Lavrov has claimed that no Central Asian nation showed interest in this endeavour when the idea was first floated in the media.
Lavrov also noted that Russia, the US, China, and other global powers were still interested in "establishing peace and stability" in Afghanistan. He added that Moscow was ready to take part in an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban's* capturing of Kabul on 15 August. Lavrov said the idea was pitched by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the United Russia party in Moscow, Russia August 22, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.08.2021
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The minister referred to The Wall Street Journal report last week, when he commented on the possibility of US troops being deployed to Central Asia. The said report claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had objected to the idea of deploying American troops in Central Asia in his 16 June meeting with US President Joe Biden. Neither of the presidents mentioned this exchange in their follow-up pressers in June.
Washington has not yet officially announced any plans to deploy forces in Central Asia and instead is currently focused on withdrawing its military and civilians from Afghanistan, and reportedly, negotiating with the Taliban* for an extension of the 31 August deadline to do that.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia
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