Biden Was Right to Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan, Putin Says
16:25 GMT 21.10.2021 (Updated: 18:30 GMT 21.10.2021)
The Joe Biden administration has faced much backlash over a chaotic troop pullout and evacuation from Afghanistan, which saw the Taliban seize control of the country.
Joe Biden was right to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, addressing the Valdai Forum on Thursday.
According to the Russian president, his US counterpart realised that the political decision to leave Afghanistan would face much criticism at home, but he took responsibility anyway.
"Biden probably understood — maybe he did not know the details of how this would happen, but he understood that one way or another — domestically, this would be one of the lines of attack. But he went for it, accepted and assumed this responsibility."
The main responsibility for what is happening in Afghanistan lies with the countries that fought there for 20 years, but in order for the state to solve its social and economic problems, it is necessary to unfreeze their assets, Putin said.
The Russian president stated on Thursday that Moscow would decide on removing the Taliban from the list of banned terrorist groups based on the decisions they make.
"We think that we are moving in this direction," he added.
Biden has repeatedly been criticised for the "chaotic" American troop exit from Afghanistan
, which wrapped up in late August and came amid the Taliban's* rapid offensive that led to the terrorist group seizing power in the country on 15 August.
The capture of Kabul by the Taliban prompted the US and NATO to begin a massive evacuation of citizens, embassy staff and vulnerable locals ahead of Biden's self-imposed 31 August deadline.
Amid the frantic rush to leave the country, terrorist attacks
claimed by a Daesh* affiliate killed scores of Afghan citizens and 13 US soldiers. Controversy has been triggered by the US retaliation for the attack, as the Pentagon said it had targeted an alleged Daesh-operative in its recent drone strike in Kabul. However, an investigative piece
in The New York Times claimed the strike had mistakenly killed an Afghan aid worker and his seven children on August 29th.
The developments were followed by the Taliban announcing an all-male interim government in Afghanistan in early September, with key ministerial posts going to the militant group's hardliners.
US-Russia Relations 'on Right Track'
Putin earlier said that Russia and the United States are on the right track following the Geneva summit in June.
"The administration from the US side and Russia, on the other hand, are fulfilling their plans and are moving along this path, and there is always a signal of such a systemic nature. Look, our trade has already grown by 23 percent, moreover, in many areas. This is an indirect influence, including from our meeting in Geneva," he added.
"We are on the right path, although, unfortunately, we also see certain regressions: a step forward and two steps back. This also happens, but still we are moving according to general agreements."
Putin described his meeting with US President Joe Biden as "fruitful," saying Washington seemed to be intent on reviving relations with Moscow.
"The meeting in Geneva was productive in general. It seemed to us - when I tell us, I mean my colleagues as well - that in general the administration is aimed at building relations, reviving them somehow, in some important directions," said Putin at the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club.
The Russian and US presidents held their first face-to-face talks in Geneva on 16 June, discussing a wide range of topics and coming to an agreement on a number of issues, including nuclear weapons and the return of ambassadors.
At the time, Biden told reporters that he saw a genuine opportunity to significantly improve the relationship between the United States and Russia. He added that the success of the summit would be determined by “practical, straightforward, no-nonsense decisions that we have to make or not make.”
During a post-summit press conference, Putin, for his part, said that his negotiations with Biden were important because the leaders met to make this world a safer place.
A month after the much-anticipated summit, where Putin and Biden agreed on strategic dialogue, the US and Russian delegations met in the Swiss capital to discuss strategic stability.
Before the consultations, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that the two sides would discuss maintaining and strengthening strategic stability, as well as prospects for arms control. The State Department, for its part, added that such a dialogue with Moscow should lay the foundation for the future arms control regime and measures to mitigate risks.
Russia-US relations soured in the wake of the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which Moscow blamed on Washington and other Western states. The US, in turn, accused Moscow of meddling in Kiev's affairs and condemned Crimea's reunification with Russia, which happened following a referendum the same year. The tensions have also affected the two states’ diplomatic missions, with Washington expelling dozens of diplomats under various pretexts
and Moscow responding in kind.
*The Taliban and Daesh are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.