TASHKENT: India’s traditional partner Russia has evacuated its diplomats from Northern Afghanistan and relocated them to Uzbekistan close on the heels of India evacuating 50 diplomats and personnel from its Kandahar mission amid the Taliban surge.
Russian diplomats and consular staff stationed in the Afghan border city of Hairatan have now been relocated to neighboring Uzbekistan, as the country descends into fierce fighting between Taliban and government troops, according to reports in leading Russian and Uzbek media.
Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s special representative for Afghanistan, told Russian news agency TASS on Monday that personnel located in the northern town had crossed the frontier amid a worsening security situation.
“In Hairatan, since it is in a state of limbo, in order not to jeopardize the safety of our employees, we temporarily moved them to the territory of Uzbekistan,” he said. The diplomats had reportedly been providing support to citizens in the region in recent days, and have only crossed into the relative safety of the erstwhile Soviet republic.
An official representative of the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan has also confirmed this.“I confirm that at present the diplomats who worked at the consular office of the Russian Federation in Hairatan have been safely evacuated to the territory of Uzbekistan,” the official said.
The security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated significantly in April this year after US President Joe Biden announced the end of the operation of American forces in the republic.
However, Kabulov emphasized that there is “no such threat” to Russian staff working in the embassy in the capital, Kabul. While the situation is deteriorating, he said that the state of affairs was “alarming, but predictable. What we predicted is happening.”
Last week, Russian officials said they would step in to ensure that the conflict did not spill over into another former Soviet republic, Tajikistan. Moscow has assured to act militarily if Taliban forces cross into Tajikistan based on the military arrangement between Russia and Central Asian country. There are reports that China also evacuated 210 nationals from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile the Taliban on Tuesday warned Turkey against extending its troop presence in Afghanistan when US-led forces leave the country, insisting the decision was “reprehensible”. This statement is interesting given Turkey’s relations with Pakistan that is often accused of mentoring Taliban.