Conflicts & War

NATO says Afghan leaders failed as China, Russia take stock of Taliban rise

Madrid Desk, Aug 17 (EFE).- The Taliban’s rapid rise to power in Afghanistan following the swift withdrawal of the United States-led NATO mission in the country after almost two decades has altered the geopolitics of the region almost overnight.

Faced with a new reality in the war-torn nation, major regional powers are weighing up their future relations with the Taliban regime.


NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday blamed Afghanistan’s leadership for the rapid collapse of the country to the Taliban, although acknowledged his surprise at the speed of the insurgents’ takeover, something mirrored by official US statements on Monday.

“This failure of Afghan leadership led to the tragedy we are witnessing today,” Stoltenberg told a press conference.

“In the long run, we strongly believe it is better to train local capacity, to train local forces,” he said.

“But the big question we have to ask in an honest and clear-eyed way is why the forces we trained and equipped and supported over so many years, were not able to stand up against the Taliban in a stronger and better way than they did.”


China has urged the Taliban to observe a peaceful transition of power and to establish an “inclusive” Islamic government that will protect Beijing’s regional interests and hinder the spread of terrorism.

Qian Fen, an academic at Tsinghua University, told Efe that the US withdrawal damaged its international image as the world watched the “chaos” unfold at Kabul’s international airport, where crowds of people desperately tried to board planes after the capital fell to the Taliban.

“This psychological impact on American allies will not disappear in the short term, as it did after the Vietnam War,” he claimed.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told his US counterpart Antony Blinken in a phone call that Washington’s actions in Afghanistan proved that implementing a foreign system on a country with a different history and social conditions was unlikely to succeed, according to the Xinhua news agency Tuesday.

Wang added, however, that China was willing to communicate with the US on the situation in Afghanistan to help prevent the country from falling into conflict.

Terror prevention is high on China’s agenda when it comes to its relations with Afghanistan, a country with which it shares a 60-kilometer border in far-eastern Xinjiang province.

Weeks before the Taliban launched its definitive offensive, Wang met with Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar to seek assurances that Afghanistan would not become a staging point for Islamist activity in Xinjiang, where a hefty clampdown by Beijing in recent years prompted accusations of human rights abuses against Muslim minorities.


The rapid deterioration of stability and security in Afghanistan is a poignant reminder of the need for Russia and Western powers to work together to resolve such crises, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“Joint efforts to help resolve numerous regional crises and conflicts are relevant. It has become even more clear after the situation in Afghanistan collapsed following a hasty withdrawal of US and Nato troops,” Lavrov told students during a visit to Kaliningrad, Russian state media TASS reported.

Russia’s foreign minister believes the fact that the Islamist Afghan militants who surged to power this week “are declaring and demonstrating in practice their readiness to respect other opinions” is a positive sign.

His remarks followed a statement by his ministry, which blamed US and NATO for failing to sufficiently prepare Afghan security personnel to resist the (inevitable) Taliban onslaught once the withdrawal of foreign troops was nearly complete.

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