now browsing by tag


A Chinese company strikes a deal with the Taliban to extract oil from Afghanistan

“MuiTypography-root-142 MuiTypography-h1-147″>A Chinese company strikes a deal with the Taliban to extract oil from Afghanistan

Beijing signs onto a deal with the Taliban to extract oil from the north of Afghanistan. ​Graeme Smith, a senior consultant for the International Crisis Group, discusses the implications of the agreement with The World's host Carol Hills.

The WorldJanuary 27, 2023 · 4:00 PM EST

A general view of Mes Aynak valley is seen some 25 miles southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, March 2, 2022. Buildings on top are offices of Chinese mining company MCC that won the contract to exploit the world's second-largest copper mine.

Shafiullah Zwak/AP/File photo

The Taliban has struck its first major deal with an international partner.

A Chinese company is investing more than half a billion dollars to begin extracting oil from the Amu Darya basin in the north of Afghanistan.

Graeme Smith, a senior consultant for the International Crisis Group, discussed the implications of the deal from Dubai with The World's host Carol Hills.

Carol Hills: Graeme, why is Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Company investing so heavily in Afghanistan?Graeme Smith: Well, the Amu Darya Basin in the northwest of the country has real potential. There is apparently oil and gas there. Some of it's stretching apparently under the border into Uzbekistan. And so, it's one of the many things the Chinese hope someday to get out of the ground in Afghanistan, not just oil and gas, but also gold and copper and maybe iron ore. But the reality is that doing this is very, very difficult and expensive. And so, they say that they will start work, but very little has started so far.But I'm curious why China has decided Afghanistan. I mean, there's any number of places around the world where they could invest in oil and extracting oil. Why Afghanistan?You know, you're right. It doesn't make a ton of sense on the face of it, because just building infrastructure, for example, building the railways, the road links and everything that you would need to link Afghanistan to China would be tremendously expensive to build. China does have this vision for what they call the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that will, they hope, eventually stretch all the way across the Asian continent and make things like this somewhat more feasible. But right now, the maps of the BRI, those maps simply leave Afghanistan out. It's sort of a blank spot. And so, you can see that they are testing ideas for starting to fill that in and maybe to include Afghanistan.So, what benefit is there for the Taliban to do business with China? Is it just money or something else?Well, the Taliban are economically isolated by the Western world. This is really hard. If you are Kabul and you depend on imports to feed most of your country, most of the food consumed in the country is imported, and most of those deals are done in US dollars. And so recently, the Chinese foreign minister was visiting Afghanistan. People who were in that meeting told me that the Chinese said, "Hey, look, we understand you're having problems with the Americans. Why don't you try using our currency instead?" And the Taliban were interested in this idea. It's a little bit tricky, though, because there's not a whole lot you can do with Chinese currency except to buy Chinese imports. And Afghanistan does import a lot of goods from China, but it's a nascent relationship. I think there's a fair bit of mistrust on both sides. But they're testing it out.Now, not everyone in Afghanistan is happy about China's presence there. In September, ISIS-K, the Afghan ISIS affiliate, warned China against its "daydream of imperialism." What's ISIS-K's problem with China?This affiliate in Afghanistan that calls itself Islamic State-Khorasan Province. Over the years, it's had to absorb a number of different foreign militants, Uzbeks, a small number of Uyghurs. And so, they probably have some sympathies with the Uyghur militants who are still in very small numbers operating on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions against China. And so, that makes China very, very concerned about the emergence of ISIS-K.Does ISIS-K pose a security threat to Chinese nationals in Afghanistan?Yes. ISIS-K has launched a number of attacks recently that appear to be targeting Chinese diplomats and business interests.Of course, as you know, Afghanistan has been called the "graveyard of empires." Whether Chinese interests are imperialist, as ISIS-K is claiming or not, is there any risk of China having to devote its own security resources in Afghanistan, like the US before it?You know, it's a fascinating question. China, of course, has been very reluctant to deploy its own forces outside of its own borders. And I think, when you talk to Central Asia hands, that's always one of their, kind of, questions about whether or not someday China would get drawn into some kind of a mission in Central Asia to protect its own assets. I mean, it's a bit of a science fiction scenario at this moment, because they've been so cautious about making investments in Afghanistan. But I have to say, under the previous government, there were photographs circulating of Chinese military vehicles accompanying what was then Afghan security forces up in Badakhshan Province, the province that borders China, clearly inside Afghan territory. So, they have been taking these little baby steps across the border from time to time. And it would be interesting to see someday if that could be extended.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Related: ‘I am living through my worst nightmare’: Women aid workers in Afghanistan react to ban on employment

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

Email AddressEmail AddressSubscribeI have read and agree to your Privacy Policy.Related ContentAfghan women say they are ‘dying in slow motion’ after killing of former female MP ‘I am living through my worst nightmare’: Women aid workers in Afghanistan react to ban on employmentTaliban: Assailants attack hotel in Afghan capital Kabul'We are erased': The fight to reopen girls secondary schools in Afghanistan continues

Afghan women say they are ‘dying in slow motion’ after killing of former female MP

“MuiTypography-root-142 MuiTypography-h1-147″>Afghan women say they are ‘dying in slow motion’ after killing of former female MP

Mursal Nabizada, who decided to remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over in 2021, was killed by gunmen on Jan. 15, along with her bodyguard. A friend and former colleague of hers, Fawzia Koofi, speaks with The World’s host Marco Werman about her Nabizada and the ongoing plight of women in the country.

The WorldJanuary 18, 2023 · 3:30 PM EST

A Taliban fighter stands guard as people wait to receive food rations distributed by a South Korean humanitarian aid group, in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, 2022.

Ebrahim Noroozi/AP/File photo

More than a year after taking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban continue their drive to erase women from public life. Among their latest efforts: barring women from working in national and international nongovernmental organizations.

In response to that decision last month, several major international aid agencies suspended their operations. In addition, even the most powerful women in Afghanistan fear for their lives, and for good reason.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, a former legislator was shot and killed in her home in the capital Kabul, along with her bodyguard. Mursal Nabizada was one of the few women who served in parliament and decided to remain in the country after the Taliban took power in August of 2021.

Fawzia Koofi served with Nabizada in Afghanistan's parliament. They were friends as well as colleagues. Koofi spoke to The World's host Marco Werman from London about Nabizada and the ongoing plight of women in the country.

Marco Werman: Ms. Koofi, first of all, our condolences to you. Fawzia Koofi: Thank you. These are hard days for everyone in Afghanistan.Well, I'd like to hear from you as a friend and colleague of Mursal Nabizada, just more about her. What sort of person was she? She was young when she ran for parliament in 2018, and she was very passionate about her country and about her work. She was very ambitious. She wanted to serve the communities and be connected with the communities. And this was one of the reasons that, despite all the risks, she chose to stay in Afghanistan.Were you two in touch in recent months?Yeah, she recently texted me after the Taliban ban on women working with NGOs and the UN, requesting to see if there are possibilities for her to leave the country. She was working with an NGO, and after the ban, it was not possible. So, her message was that "it's getting too much. I want to leave now."Did she express worries about her own safety, about living in Afghanistan with the Taliban in charge?Not about her safety. Everyone in Afghanistan is unsafe. Women are more unsafe because of their work and because of the fact the Taliban don't like them, even if they are female students or female teachers or female leaders, they don't like them. So, every woman in Afghanistan is unsafe. She was more worried about her dreams that were shattered and her work that was no longer possible. Unlike many others who are in contact with me, they tell me that they know they might not survive the day that they start. Every Afghan woman who contacts me now, they tell me that for them [that they are dying] in slow motion. Because if you live, and you're not recorded as a human being, you're literally dying in slow motion.So, I understand that Mursal Nabizada was offered a humanitarian visa and could have left the country long ago after the Taliban took over in 2021. She did not, though. I'm just wondering if you have any insight into her decision to stay.Well, I think initially, she tended to believe the Taliban's promise in terms of supporting women's rights. So, like many others who actually were trapped into this narrative the Taliban created, which was Taliban 2.0, pro-woman, etc. So, I think she wanted to give it a chance. But in reality, this is a narrative the Taliban created, and we and our international friends tend to believe it. It was a failed and false narrative.Fawzia you, yourself, survived at least two assassination attempts. So, you're well aware of the dangers in Afghanistan, and especially what women face, given what you call the failed and false narrative of Taliban 2.0. What are you saying to other women you speak with who are still in Afghanistan?Well, I feel very bad for not being able to be with them. But I know that even if I was in Afghanistan, I [wouldn't be] able to do much, because I was already under house arrest when the Taliban came. And I didn't want to leave. So, I don't have words when they text me messages or voice messages full of pain and sorrow and emotions asking me to help them leave the country, especially after the Taliban's two recent bans on women [attending] university and banning women from NGOs. I think literally that was the last nail in the women's rights coffin. So, everyone wants to leave and there are some who are more at risk, especially my female colleagues, politicians, who are in Afghanistan. Some of them are in Pakistan and Iran. And they are desperate, they are asking me to support them. So, one of Mursal's colleagues texted me the day before yesterday, the same day that she was killed, and said, "Ms. Koofi, is there a way for me to get out? Who knows? Probably the next would be me." But the fact is that we can't get 35 million people out, right? So, we need to really look beyond humanitarian aid and humanitarian visas, and see how politically we can create an alternative for the Taliban, so the Taliban are stopped and they do not last very long. And finally, they agree for a political settlement.So, because of that move by the Taliban banning women from working for NGOs, some aid groups have quit their operations in Afghanistan, which, of course, has its own counterproductive consequences. What do you think humanitarian groups should do when it comes to dealing with the Taliban?Well, I think it was the right decision to [end] some of this humanitarian aid, because how can your taxpayer's money go to a group excluding women from the offices? It was difficult for these humanitarian organizations to reach women across Afghanistan, in terms of the recipients. So, I think it was a good decision. As much as it's difficult and challenging, and I know that economically people are suffering, but I think it was the right decision to do so.Ms. Koofi, is there a memory about Mursal Nabizada that you've been holding on to in recent days that you'll keep with you moving forward?Yeah. When she was elected in 2018, she actually contacted me and she said, "I would like you to mentor me." And it was very sweet. When you hear that from somebody, it indicated the legacy, but also, you know, her passion to really be meaningfully involved in politics and try to do things for our country.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Related: ‘I am living through my worst nightmare’: Women aid workers in Afghanistan react to ban on employment

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

Email AddressEmail AddressSubscribeI have read and agree to your Privacy Policy.Related Content ‘I am living through my worst nightmare’: Women aid workers in Afghanistan react to ban on employmentTaliban: Assailants attack hotel in Afghan capital Kabul'We are erased': The fight to reopen girls secondary schools in Afghanistan continuesAfghanistan marks 1 year since Taliban seizure as woes mount

‘I am living through my worst nightmare’: Women aid workers in Afghanistan react to ban on employment

“MuiTypography-root-142 MuiTypography-h1-147″> ‘I am living through my worst nightmare’: Women aid workers in Afghanistan react to ban on employment

Women who work for nongovernmental organizations in Afghanistan are in shock after the group announced a ban on female employees.

The WorldJanuary 4, 2023 · 4:15 PM EST

A Save the Children nutrition counselor, right, explains to Nelab, 22, how to feed her 11-month-old daughter, Parsto, with therapeutic food, which is used to treat severe acute malnutrition, in Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan, Sept. 29, 2022. A senior UN official in Afghanistan met the deputy prime minister of the Taliban-led government to discuss a ban on women working for nongovernmental groups. Save the Children is one of the major aid agencies that suspended its operations in Afghanistan after the ban was announced.

Save the Children via AP

“Bread. Work. Freedom,” women in Afghanistan chanted at a recent protest.

The simple slogan captures everything they are being deprived of.

Late last month, the Taliban announced a ban on women working for nongovernmental organizations. It came shortly after the group barred women from attending universities.

Since their takeover more than a year ago, the Taliban have severely limited women’s rights.

On Sunday, the deputy head of the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, Potzel Markus, met with Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi, the deputy prime minister of the Taliban in the capital, Kabul, to discuss the ban.

But there has been no word so far about any breakthroughs from that meeting.

“I am living through my worst nightmare,” 21-year-old Razia said from her home in the city of Herat.

She asked that The World not mention her last name or which organization she worked for because she is afraid the Taliban will punish her for speaking to a foreign reporter.

Until last week, Razia was the sole breadwinner for her family of eight. But now, she has no job and no income.

“We, Afghan women, don’t deserve this,” she said.

In response to the ban on women employees, several international aid organizations have suspended their operations in Afghanistan.

“This is an unacceptable breach of humanitarian principles specially of impartiality, independence,and most importantly humanity,” Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, head of CARE International, said at a press briefing last week.

The ban comes at a difficult time for the Afghan people. Millions of Afghans rely on humanitarian aid just to survive, according to the United Nations.

“Banning women aid workers has immediate, life-threatening consequences for all Afghans,” the organization’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Afghanistan tweeted: “The ban comes at a time when over 28 [million] people require aid to survive as the country grapples with risk of famine conditions, economic decline, entrenched poverty [and] a brutal winter.”

“Some organisations have lost up to 40% of their staff overnight: teachers, team leaders, logisticians, nutrition experts, community health workers, administrators, NGO heads,” wrote Hugo Shorter, the interim chargé d'affaires of the UK’s mission to Afghanistan.

Wazhma Frogh, who’s based in the US and runs an NGO in Afghanistan, found out about the ban when her employees called her frantically about a letter they received from the Ministry of Economy.

She asked The World not to publicize the name of her group because she also fears retaliation.

“What it said [was] that due to a number of complaints, female staff are not allowed to work in these organizations and it says if any organization does not obey this rule, then, they will lose their license,” Frogh said.

Frogh employs 25 women; some are students who were recently banned from attending universities. Her NGO provides a range of services to about 750 women across the country, including humanitarian aid, home-based classes and psychosocial programs for women.

Frogh called the Afghan Ministry to explain how her group helps many Afghan women. But she said it didn’t seem to make any difference.

“I just have no idea what to do and how to deal with this situation,” she said.

While organizations grapple with the change, employees are left to figure out how to survive.

Marjan worked for a local NGO in Kabul until last Thursday. She said that she got a call the previous night from her boss saying she couldn’t come to work the next day.

She, too, asked The World not to disclose her full name or details about her job out of fear of the Taliban.

Marjan said she wonders how she will pay for fuel and firewood this winter, adding that soon, her family might not even have anything to eat.

Aid groups have been forced into an impossible position, said Mohammad Qadam Shah, who teaches at Seattle Pacific University, and has researched foreign aid in Afghanistan.

“The whole country right now is hostage and the women are the main target,” he said.

Last week, Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in an interview on Afghan television that his organization has already complied with the Taliban’s demands that female employees dress modestly and work separately from their male colleagues.

But the ban on women employees is a step too far, he said.

“We cannot do good work with males only,” he said, adding that the organization has “some principles. A fundamental principle and value for us is that both female and male colleagues can work according to local values and traditions.”

The NRC is among the organizations that have suspended their operations in Afghanistan. Egeland said one reason is because they can no longer access women in conservative areas.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

Email AddressEmail AddressSubscribeI have read and agree to your Privacy Policy.Related ContentTaliban: Assailants attack hotel in Afghan capital Kabul'We are erased': The fight to reopen girls secondary schools in Afghanistan continuesAfghanistan marks 1 year since Taliban seizure as woes mountAfghan women who escaped Taliban takeover continue their education at a Wisconsin university

These Afghan women soldiers made it out of Afghanistan. Their next battle is making it in the US.

“MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>These Afghan women soldiers made it out of Afghanistan. Their next battle is making it in the US.

About 40 members of a special, all-women Afghan platoon that worked alongside the US military barely made it out of Afghanistan last year. Now, they want to put their training to use even though they remain in a legal limbo. But that hasn’t stopped them learning English and getting an education. 

The WorldDecember 9, 2022 · 2:00 PM EST

A. spent three years on high-risk night missions with US Army Special Forces as part of an all-women tactical unit of the Afghan army. Now, she and other former soldiers are trying to make new lives in Arizona.


Alisa Reznick/The World

By the time A. made it to the Kabul airport to evacuate Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover in August of 2021, it was already too late to say most of her goodbyes in person.

A. was a member of the Afghan military for five years, including three years with an elite, all-women unit called the Female Tactical Platoon, which made her a target for the Taliban.

A.’s full name isn’t being used — only an initial — because some of her family is still in Afghanistan. They’re Hazara, a persecuted ethnic and religious minority there. A. said that talking about her work could put them in even more danger.

That day at the airport, “I called my parents. I said, ‘I’m sorry, because I didn’t [see] you guys, and I’m getting ready to go. I’m leaving Afghanistan,’” she said.

It was the first time that she’d heard her dad cry, she said. “He said, ‘I love you,’” A. recounted recently, from Tempe, Arizona, where she shares an apartment with two other women from the same platoon.

A. and her roommates are among nearly 40 platoon members who made it out of Afghanistan and are living in the US. Even though they’re safe now, they remain in legal limbo. Still, they’re trying to learn English and pursue their education in the US. 

High-risk missions  

When A. joined the special forces, her parents had a hard time accepting her job, she said. She’d left university partway through a degree in engineering to pursue a military career, and they worried about her.

Just before Kabul fell last year, A. was on high-risk night missions with joint US and Afghan special forces. That meant dropping from helicopters into rough, remote terrain, questioning Taliban fighters and others thought to be connected to them. They were there gathering intel, asking about explosives or other weapons that may be hidden.

“I was in love with my job,” she said. “Wearing body armor, putting the helmet on and taking my gun to go find the enemy … taking care of people and helping people, it made me feel very strong.”

A. was doing work that few expected or accepted from Afghan women. But she saw it as a way to help her country.

As women, the Female Tactical Platoon members fulfilled a role that Afghan and American male soldiers culturally could not — interview women and children, usually wives, daughters or other family members of suspected Taliban fighters.

But it’s this work that put her and the other FTPs in danger when the Taliban came into power.

“We assumed that the FTPs would be part of the operation to evacuate,” said Bill Richardson, a US Marine veteran and retired police detective in Phoenix. “But then, we discovered that they were not part of the discussion, there was no mention of them, they weren’t on anybody’s radar.”

Richardson’s daughter, who is in the US Army and worked with A. in Afghanistan, brought their predicament to his attention. Richardson wound up helping A. and other platoon members to leave the country.

Bill Richardson is a Marine veteran and retired police detective in Phoenix. A. and other platoon members initially lived with him and his wife in Tempe, Arizona, after they arrived in the US.



Alisa Reznick/The World

One platoon member was killed before she could evacuate. But Richardson and an ad hoc group of other veterans, lawmakers and active duty soldiers managed to get the 39 others out safely last year — across the US.

“A lot of this boiled down to friendships that people had, relationships through serving together friends of friends,” Richardson said. “Or in my case, friends of friends of friends, or calling people cold and saying, ‘Will you please help?’”

But, like thousands of their compatriots, the Afghan women are also stuck — they’re here on temporary immigration status with no clear path to citizenship. Since they were part of the Afghan army, they also can’t apply for the special visas afforded to Afghans who worked for the US. A bill called the Afghan Adjustment Act could change that, but it’s stalled in Congress.

That means aspirations they have with careers and higher education are much more difficult.

A. wants to join the US military and fly helicopters. But despite looking for months, A. doesn’t have a job right now. 

A. holds a mug commemorating soldiers from the Female Tactical Platoon, or FTP, and the Cultural Support Team, or CST — a mostly women unit within the US military that worked with the FTPs.



Alisa Reznick/The World

“My parents … always say, ‘You have to continue your education, you have to focus on your education, that’s OK we don't need money,’” she said. “But I don’t feel good because the people in Afghanistan are not in a good situation. And I know they need money because we are not a small family.”

Richardson said this is a persistent issue that many of the former soldiers face, and it’s hard not to think there’s some bias involved — because they’re Afghans, new to the US, or just because they’re different.

“I think the political climate has created an environment where, you know, people want to blame, and they're not accepting of someone or something that's different,” he said.  

Hurdles to starting over in the US

English proficiency is the first hurdle that the Afghan soldiers have to clear. A. stopped her English studies at Arizona State University earlier this year. Funding got tight, and she said that news from Afghanistan consumed her focus.

It was also difficult to make the transition from soldier to civilian, something Rebekah Edmondson said that she knows a lot about. She’s a US Army Special Forces veteran who served four tours in Afghanistan alongside the Afghan women’s platoon.

“You know, the fact that they went from repelling out of helicopters under night vision, conducting these very high-profile operations,” she said. “Now, they’re here, labeled as refugees in a country that’s not always incredibly welcoming.”

Edmondson trained the first Afghan women’s platoon more than 10 years ago. She said that long before US troops left Afghanistan, Edmondson began to worry that one day, these women would need to leave their country.

A laptop, book and pink soldier figurines sit atop a desk inside the Tempe apartment where some former platoon members live. The family of former Marine Bill Richardson gave A. an Amelia Earhart book after hearing about her plan to become a pilot herself one day.



Alisa Reznick/The World

She started trying to set up educational opportunities for them in the US, talking with universities about how they could enroll in classes and master’s programs.

“But unfortunately, you know, just with the infrastructure of that country and not having WiFi that was reliable and different things, there were opportunities present, but they weren't able to take advantage of them,” she said.

She said that’s changing now that the women are in the US. She’s helping to fund online English classes and other training for the platoon members, one of a few women veterans hired by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union to help in that effort.

She said that she tries to see it as a silver lining. But she knows things won’t happen overnight. Like A., many of the women still have family struggling in Afghanistan.

“And so it's, it's very, very difficult to expect somebody that's going through all this mental, emotional anguish to thrive immediately,” she said. “Even if they do get connected to a job and have all these resources, the majority of them are really struggling with that fact.”

Inside her Tempe apartment, A. has a collection of framed photos of her family and work from back home.

The images are tucked away inside a plastic sleeve in A.’s closet, along with a neatly folded Afghan flag. She said that having them out just brings a rush of painful memories.

“My job was taking care of the people, and work[ing] for my country, and help[ing] my country, and unfortunately, when I think about it, it makes me very sad and very angry, because I cannot do anything for the people of Afghanistan, especially the women,” she said.

Still, she said that she’s moving forward. She’ll restart English classes next year. And she wants to get her pilot’s license one day — it’s a new dream that feels close to the work she once loved.

An earlier version of this story was originally published by KJZZ.

Will you help our nonprofit newsroom today?

Every week, more than 2 million listeners tune into our broadcast and follow our digital coverage like this story, which is available to read for free thanks to charitable contributions from listeners like you. But less than 1% of our audience supports our program directly. From now through the end of the year, every gift will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor, which means your gift will help us unlock a $67,000 challenge match.

Will you join our growing list of loyal supporters and double your impact today?

Count me in!Related ContentDACA could end in federal court. Most of today’s high school graduates can’t get protection from the program anyway. ‘The College Tour’ show makes campus tours accessible to immigrants, low-income studentsAnalysts: In the face of a high-skilled labor shortage, the US needs to rely more on immigrantsSafe and unsilenced: Afghan scholars find refuge at US universities

Taliban agrees with Russia on gas supplies to Afghanistan

The Taliban managed to negotiate with Russia on the supply of food and fuel. The exact terms of the deal are unknown, in August the Afghan government did not rule out that they would pay with raisins and medicinal herbs .png 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

The Taliban holding power in Afghanistan (recognized as terrorist and banned in Russia) entered into a trade agreement with Russia. This was reported to Reuters by the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry of Afghanistan, Haji Nooruddin Azizi. According to him, the Taliban government is now working to diversify its foreign trade relations.

As part of the deal, Russia will annually supply the country with about 1 million tons of gasoline, 1 million tons of diesel fuel, 500 thousand tons of liquefied hydrocarbon gases ( LPG) and 2 million tons of wheat, he said. Azizi did not name the exact price of the contracts, but said that Russia offered the Taliban a discount compared to the average world prices for raw materials.

The agreement will remain in effect for an indefinite trial period. After it, the parties will have to sign an agreement for a longer period if they are satisfied with the results.

RBC sent inquiries to representatives of Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and the Ministry of Energy.

On June 15, representatives of the Taliban visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Among the Taliban negotiators who arrived were the deputy head of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammad Younis Hossein, and the head of the Afghan diplomatic mission, Jamal Nasir Garwal. One of the goals of the visit was to negotiate the supply of wheat to Afghanistan.

In August, Azizi said that the Afghan authorities intend to negotiate with Moscow on the supply of fuel to the country. The Taliban are ready to pay for Russian oil with minerals, raisins and medicinal herbs Azizi said. If such a scheme does not suit Moscow, then Kabul can also pay with money, he noted.

Read on RBC Pro Pro Four reactions to fear that will only strengthen it The Secret History of the Indian Rich Man Who Overtook Bezos in work and life Articles Pro “Demon rides” and a minimum of publicity: how Keanu Reeves lives


‘We are erased’: The fight to reopen girls secondary schools in Afghanistan continues

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>'We are erased': The fight to reopen girls secondary schools in Afghanistan continues

This past week, girls in the province of Paktia in eastern Afghanistan went to the streets to protest. The Taliban had reopened their schools but ordered them shut again. Girls’ education in Afghanistan has become a sensitive topic since the Taliban came to power last year. They have closed down nearly all secondary schools for girls in the country.

The WorldSeptember 16, 2022 · 3:30 PM EDT

Student Fereshteh, 11 years old, poses for a photo in her classroom in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 23, 2022. Taliban authorities on Sept. 10, 2022, shut down girls schools above the sixth grade in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province that had been briefly opened after a recommendation by tribal elders and school principals, according to witnesses and social media posts.

Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

For the past year, Matiullah Wesa has been zigzagging across Afghanistan, trying to give teenage girls an opportunity to learn.

Wesa is the founder and president of a nongovernmental organization called Pen Path. He started it in 2009 with the goal of promoting education in remote areas of Afghanistan.

But since the Taliban took over, his focus has turned even more on girls' education.

“I set up classes online and offline because I didn’t want girls in my country to lose hope,” he said.

Wesa works with a team of teachers who conduct lessons in homes, in basements and in secret.

Since August 2021, when the Taliban came to power, they have ordered most secondary schools in Afghanistan closed. A few remain open in the northern parts of the country, but those are exceptions.

There is no clear consensus within the group about girls' education and officials have given different reasons for not allowing teenage girls between grades six and 12 to attend classes.

Initially, it was about girls' safety. Then, about their dress code. And this week, the acting Minister of Education Noorullah Munir claimed in an interview that Afghans don’t want to send their girls to school and that it goes against their culture.

Wesa said every day, he hears students ask: When can we go back? They listen to the radio and watch TV, he said, in the hopes of hearing some good news.

“It’s been more than one year they haven’t been in school and many are suffering psychologically,” he said.

Earlier this week, after negotiations between local elders, educators and the Taliban, schools in the city of Gardez in eastern Afghanistan reopened.

Teenage girls in their uniforms of white headscarves and long dark shirts headed to class. But the euphoria didn’t last long. The Taliban ordered the schools to close again.

One student told local reporters that she just doesn’t understand why the Taliban are treating teenage girls like that. Another, sobbed as she spoke with reporters.

Shortly after the school closure in Paktia, students protested in the streets.

One student, Somayeh, read a poem she had written about the ban.

“If you imprison us in our homes for a thousand years, we will fight back for a thousand and one years. For our right, for science and for humanity,” it read.

Wesa, the education advocate, said he is leading a campaign to reopen schools.

He added that the education minister’s comments about girls' education not being part of Afghan culture didn’t go over well with many. On his recent travels to different cities in Afghanistan, he has been hearing the opposite from Afghan families.

In conservative Kandahar, he said, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, fathers and brothers told him they have no objection to girls’ education.

This week, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, spoke about the rollback of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

“There's no country in the world where women and girls have so rapidly been deprived of their fundamental human rights purely because of gender,” Bennett said.

United Nations’ Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris said that approximately 850,000 girls had so far dropped out of school, placing them at risk of child marriage and sexual economic exploitation.

“Policymakers globally need to consider how to address this ban on education as the world tries to deal with the Taliban in power in Afghanistan,” said Rangina Hamidi, Afghanistan’s former minister of education.

Hamidi wasn’t able to continue her work in Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power. She was left conflicted about whether she should leave the country.

“I am a mother of a girl who is in seventh grade today and I had to choose my own daughter’s future over the millions of daughters that I have left behind in Afghanistan and it’s a weight that I carry very painfully in my heart,” she said.

Hamidi, who is now teaching at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, is hopeful that she can return someday to her country.

But that hope seems more and more distant as each day passes, and as the world turns its attention away from Afghanistan.

Longtime women’s rights activist Mahboubeh Seraj expressed her frustration this week at a UN conference on human rights.

“We are erased,” she said. “Do you know what that feeling is? To be erased?”

What does the site of the explosion at the Russian embassy in Afghanistan look like. Video

An explosion occurred near the Russian embassy in Afghanistan. As a result, two employees of the diplomatic mission and several dozen civilians were killed. What the place of the explosion looks like and what is known about it – in the RBC video.


Tags Subscribe to RuTube RBC Live broadcasts, videos and recordings of programs on our RuTube channel


Why has polio emerged in the US, UK and Israel? A polio eradication expert weighs in.

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Why has polio emerged in the US, UK and Israel? A polio eradication expert weighs in.

New cases of polio have emerged in the US and Israel, and the disease has been detected in wastewater in the UK. Oliver Rosenbauer, the spokesperson for polio eradication at the World Health Organization, explains how some of them could be linked to the oral vaccine that's long been used to prevent the disease.

The WorldAugust 24, 2022 · 3:00 PM EDT

A worker walks alongside the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant's array of digester eggs in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Officials revealed last month that polio has shown up in New York sewers, suggesting it is spreading, Aug. 12, 2022.

John Minchillo/AP/File photo

The United States saw its first polio case in nearly a decade this summer. The virus has also infected several children in Israel this year and has been found in London's wastewater. Genetic analysis has linked some of these cases to the oral vaccine long used to prevent polio.

To discuss the situation, The World's host Carol Hills spoke with Oliver Rosenbauer, the spokesperson for polio eradication at the World Health Organization, who joined from Geneva. 

Carol Hills: So, how does the oral polio vaccine actually cause polio?Oliver Rosenbauer: Well, they're not exactly caused by the polio vaccine itself. What is happening is the oral polio vaccine that is being used — and that's been used all over the world billions of times, and through which polio has been almost globally eradicated — it contains a live vaccine virus. It's a weakened vaccine virus, but it's live. So, what happens is that you give this vaccine to a child and that child develops immunity, and then the vaccine virus basically multiplies in that child's gut and is actually excreted in the stool, just like a normal polio virus would. And it can actually spread to other children. In 99% of the cases, that's actually a good thing, because you passively immunize other children that way. The problem is, if you allow this vaccine virus to continue to spread in the community and to continue to circulate, and if that happens, it can become, again, genetically changed from a weakened vaccine virus to a strong vaccine virus, able to cause paralysis. And that's what is known as a vaccine-derived polio virus.What's interesting is this oral vaccine has been around for decades. Why are we seeing these cases pop up now?Well, I think we're not just seeing these cases pop up now. We've been seeing them pop up throughout the use of this particular vaccine. It's just that it's popped up in a place like New York, which hasn't had polio in a long, long time. The risk of these things emerging are very, very low. And the reason why we use this particular vaccine is that it has the ability to interrupt person-to-person spread. There's another vaccine that is used. It's called the inactivated polio vaccine — or the Salk vaccine, if you like — and it's injected. It contains an inactivated polio vaccine and it offers excellent personal protection. But the drawback on that is [that] it offers very limited ability to be able to stop person-to-person spread of the virus, and in an eradication effort, that's what we're really after.So, is there any risk of a widespread outbreak in places like the US and the UK of polio now? I mean, should we be worried?I would say the following: I think both the UK and the US did a fantastic job in identifying a public health risk. You know, there's one case in New York, which is a paralytic case — one person paralyzed by the disease, which is tragic — but for the most part, the virus has been only isolated in sewage systems. So, the local authorities have identified this risk and are, right now, doing all the right things in addressing this public health risk. And the name of the game now is to make sure that you do not allow polio to reestablish a foothold in your community. And to do that, you make sure that your population is fully vaccinated.There's been such a push to get people vaccinated against COVID-19, with messaging about how the vaccine is safe and effective, there's no risk of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine. Do you worry about how this news about polio might impact people's decisions to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or other viruses?We're worried about any person who is not vaccinated against polio, because then that individual is not protected. And certainly the vaccine that's being used in the United States, the inactivated polio vaccine, it's one of the safest, if not the safest vaccine that is out there. It is a killed vaccine virus, so there is absolutely no chance of catching polio from it. There is no chance that you would see these vaccine-derived polio cases arise with inactivated polio vaccines. The only thing that it will do, is to protect you from lifelong paralysis. And, most of us have forgotten what polio actually is. It is a devastating, deadly disease. It is an extremely painful disease. And it is so easily preventable, and so, if it's a matter of getting one injection in the arm, which is completely safe, and then be sure and be assured that you're not going to catch this disease, I think it's worth doing, definitely.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Related: An upcoming vaccine drive in Afghanistan is an ‘unprecedented opportunity’ to eradicate polio, UN official says

Why are new polio cases popping up in the US, UK and Israel? A polio eradication expert weighs in.

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Why are new polio cases popping up in the US, UK and Israel? A polio eradication expert weighs in.

New cases of polio have emerged in the US, UK and Israel. Oliver Rosenbauer, the spokesperson for polio eradication at the World Health Organization, explains how some of them could be linked to the oral vaccine that's long been used to prevent the disease.

The WorldAugust 24, 2022 · 3:00 PM EDT

A worker walks alongside the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant's array of digester eggs in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Officials revealed last month that polio has shown up in New York sewers, suggesting it is spreading, Aug. 12, 2022.

John Minchillo/AP/File photo

The United States saw its first polio case in nearly a decade this summer. The virus has also infected several children in Israel this year and has been found in London's wastewater. Genetic analysis has linked some of these cases to the oral vaccine long used to prevent polio.

To discuss the situation, The World's host Carol Hills spoke with Oliver Rosenbauer, the spokesperson for polio eradication at the World Health Organization, who joined from Geneva. 

Carol Hills: So, how does the oral polio vaccine actually cause polio?Oliver Rosenbauer: Well, they're not exactly caused by the polio vaccine itself. What is happening is the oral polio vaccine that is being used — and that's been used all over the world billions of times, and through which polio has been almost globally eradicated — it contains a live vaccine virus. It's a weakened vaccine virus, but it's live. So, what happens is that you give this vaccine to a child and that child develops immunity, and then the vaccine virus basically multiplies in that child's gut and is actually excreted in the stool, just like a normal polio virus would. And it can actually spread to other children. In 99% of the cases, that's actually a good thing, because you passively immunize other children that way. The problem is, if you allow this vaccine virus to continue to spread in the community and to continue to circulate, and if that happens, it can become, again, genetically changed from a weakened vaccine virus to a strong vaccine virus, able to cause paralysis. And that's what is known as a vaccine-derived polio virus.What's interesting is this oral vaccine has been around for decades. Why are we seeing these cases pop up now?Well, I think we're not just seeing these cases pop up now. We've been seeing them pop up throughout the use of this particular vaccine. It's just that it's popped up in a place like New York, which hasn't had polio in a long, long time. The risk of these things emerging are very, very low. And the reason why we use this particular vaccine is that it has the ability to interrupt person-to-person spread. There's another vaccine that is used. It's called the inactivated polio vaccine — or the Salk vaccine, if you like — and it's injected. It contains an inactivated polio vaccine and it offers excellent personal protection. But the drawback on that is [that] it offers very limited ability to be able to stop person-to-person spread of the virus, and in an eradication effort, that's what we're really after.So, is there any risk of a widespread outbreak in places like the US and the UK of polio now? I mean, should we be worried?I would say the following: I think both the UK and the US did a fantastic job in identifying a public health risk. You know, there's one case in New York, which is a paralytic case — one person paralyzed by the disease, which is tragic — but for the most part, the virus has been only isolated in sewage systems. So, the local authorities have identified this risk and are, right now, doing all the right things in addressing this public health risk. And the name of the game now is to make sure that you do not allow polio to reestablish a foothold in your community. And to do that, you make sure that your population is fully vaccinated.There's been such a push to get people vaccinated against COVID-19, with messaging about how the vaccine is safe and effective, there's no risk of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine. Do you worry about how this news about polio might impact people's decisions to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or other viruses?We're worried about any person who is not vaccinated against polio, because then that individual is not protected. And certainly the vaccine that's being used in the United States, the inactivated polio vaccine, it's one of the safest, if not the safest vaccine that is out there. It is a killed vaccine virus, so there is absolutely no chance of catching polio from it. There is no chance that you would see these vaccine-derived polio cases arise with inactivated polio vaccines. The only thing that it will do, is to protect you from lifelong paralysis. And, most of us have forgotten what polio actually is. It is a devastating, deadly disease. It is an extremely painful disease. And it is so easily preventable, and so, if it's a matter of getting one injection in the arm, which is completely safe, and then be sure and be assured that you're not going to catch this disease, I think it's worth doing, definitely.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Related: An upcoming vaccine drive in Afghanistan is an ‘unprecedented opportunity’ to eradicate polio, UN official says

What has changed in Afghanistan during the year of the Taliban rule

Did the Taliban keep their promises after coming to power A year ago, the Taliban, having occupied Kabul, became the sole ruling force in Afghanistan. How life in the country has changed during this time and whether the Taliban fulfilled their promises then – in the material of RBC jpg 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

On August 15, 2021, militants of the Taliban terrorist movement banned in Russia practically without a fight, they occupied the Afghan capital of Kabul and established their power in the country. The government of Ashraf Ghani, the country's former president, did not last more than four months from the moment the US began to withdraw troops from the country.

Having come to power, the Taliban declared his readiness to interact with the world, create a government that will include representatives from all over the country, and also ensure the basic rights of the population, including women. In practice, most of what was promised at that time was never fulfilled within a year.

Economy and human rights

After the fall of Ghani's government, the Afghan economy collapsed. The arrival of the Taliban in a poor, civil war-ravaged country stopped receiving foreign aid, which previously amounted to 45% of national GDP, according to a World Bank report on the causes of the crisis in Afghanistan. Foreign assets of the country's Central Bank worth about $9.2 billion were frozen.

The humanitarian situation has worsened: 20 million people, or half of the country's population, are now experiencing food shortages.

“They stole our money from us and we are required to show the results of our board” Tell me, if you turn off the water for irrigation in our garden, and then demand from us to show the fruits grown in the garden, what will we answer you? this is how the head of the current Afghan Foreign Ministry, Amir Khan Muttaki, responded to criticism at a conference in Tashkent at the end of July (he was quoted by an expert on Central Asian countries Arkady Dubnov).

There has been a significant outflow of human capital— tens of thousands of highly skilled workers fled the country. In addition, restrictions were imposed on the work of women in the private and public sectors. As a result, the number of women employed in the economy has fallen sharply. From 1998 to 2019, the proportion of women has increased from 15% to 22% of all employees. However, in 2021, this figure fell again to 15%. At the same time, the Taliban promised that they would respect the rights of women and allow them to work, provided that they wear a veil.

Read on RBC Pro Pro x The Economist Bezos and Dorsey invest in African startups. What They Hope for Pro Articles Don't Show Up With a Cappuccino and No Resume: Rules for a Successful Interview Pro Instructions You have 8 seconds. How to present and sell an idea Summary Pro Import substitution “under the lash”: what threatens the lack of competition in IT Forecasts Pro Five exercises for a beautiful posture Instructions Pro “Mom, why are we so poor?”: How to answer uncomfortable questions from children Instructions Pro The main thing – not reach Abibas: what should be the import-substituting brand with a head covering. Also, Afghan women are now prohibited from traveling further than 45 miles (72 km) without being accompanied by a male relative.

In March of this year, after a six-month break, secondary schools were opened in Afghanistan, but girls were not admitted to education. The restriction affected 1.1 million Afghan schoolgirls, the UN calculated. In May, the Taliban government's interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani assured that the authorities are currently developing a mechanism that will make the education of girls possible. “Nobody is against education for women, and girls are already allowed to go to school until the sixth grade. As for the older age, work continues on the mechanism, & mdash; he said in an interview with CNN.

When the Taliban first came to power, there were fears that they would begin to persecute and execute their opponents. Experts from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) counted 160 cases of extrajudicial killings of former civil servants. Of these, 59 people were accused of collaborating with the Islamic State banned in Russia. (IG), 18— with the Afghan National Resistance Front, led by warlord Ahmad Masood Jr. The mission report, released on July 20, also mentions 178 extrajudicial arrests.


If the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in terms of civil liberties, there is still an improvement in security, the same says UNAMA report. The head of the mission, Markus Potzel, speaking on July 26 at the opening of a conference on Afghan issues in Tashkent, confirmed that there is a positive trend, said that he personally moved freely in Afghanistan for ten days.

The number of victims of armed violence in Afghanistan, according to the UN, remains high: from August 15, 2021 to June 15, 2022, about 700 people were killed and another 1,406 were injured. However, this is several times less than in previous years, when the country was at war. In addition, more than half of the victims in 2021–2022— the result of terrorist attacks organized by the Vilayat Khorasan group, the Afghan affiliate of ISIS. So, in October last year, only one terrorist attack in a Shiite mosque in Kunduz killed about 100 people.

The number of militants of the Islamic State terrorist group has grown in the country— from 2,000 to 6,000 militants, Zamir Kabulov, the special envoy of the Russian President for Afghanistan, said at the end of July (the Taliban deny such an estimate.). Also, according to Kabulov, the Taliban have not achieved a reduction in opium poppy crops— raw material for the production of heroin.

In early August, US President Joseph Biden said that on July 31 in Kabul, during the operation of the American special services, the leader of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda was killed. (banned in Russia) Ayman al-Zawahiri. This is so far the first and last American strike on the territory of Afghanistan in almost a year since the withdrawal of troops. Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the country's authorities did not know that al-Zawahiri was in Kabul, and also condemned the attack on the Afghan capital, calling it a violation of international principles.

Inclusive Government

The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was the result of an agreement between the US and the Taliban reached on February 29, 2020 in Doha. In this so-called Doha Agreement, the Taliban were committed to forming an inclusive government. The Taliban promised that not only Pashtuns would be in the leadership of the country— traditional members of the movement. However, there is no significant progress on this issue yet.

“The entire Afghan people must be involved in running the country. As brothers, I urge the Taliban to regard all Afghans as brothers and sisters, even those who are against them and who are thinking about resistance. They need to be contacted and brought back into the political process, into the national dialogue, so that in an atmosphere of unity and with the help of the word, chart the path to a better future. It is with this appeal that I have repeatedly addressed the Taliban,— former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in one of his last interviews.

Most countries in the world do not recognize the power of the Taliban. For Moscow, the main obstacle on this path— lack of inclusive government. This was announced in April 2022 by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “We want to move towards full diplomatic recognition of the new authorities in Afghanistan, with the understanding that they will fulfill their promise and create an inclusive government,” — he said.

Amir Khan Muttaki in Tashkent at the end of July assured that the country had already introduced a “policy of tolerance towards opponents”; and “no civil servant has ever been fired for his political views.” He also stated that today “representatives of all 34 provinces of the country are present in the state structures of Afghanistan,” and “attempts by foreign countries to include people from the previous regime in the government are direct interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.”

RuTube RBC Live broadcasts, videos and recordings of programs on our RuTube channel


Afghanistan marks 1 year since Taliban seizure as woes mount

“MuiTypography-root-229 MuiTypography-h1-234″>Afghanistan marks 1 year since Taliban seizure as woes mountAssociated PressAugust 15, 2022 · 9:30 AM EDT

Taliban fighters celebrate one year since they seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, in front of the US Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2022.

Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

The Taliban on Monday marked a year since they seized the Afghan capital of Kabul, a rapid takeover that triggered a hasty escape of the nation's Western-backed leaders, sent the economy into a tailspin and fundamentally transformed the country.

Bearded Taliban fighters, some hoisting rifles or the white banners of their movement, staged small victory parades on foot, bicycles and motor cycles in the streets of the capital. One small group marched past the former US Embassy, chanting “Long live Islam” and “Death to America.”

A year after the dramatic day, much has changed in Afghanistan. The former insurgents struggle to govern and remain internationally isolated. The economic downturn has driven millions more Afghans into poverty and even hunger, as the flow of foreign aid slowed to a trickle.

Meanwhile, hard-liners appear to hold sway in the Taliban-led government, which imposed severe restrictions on access to education and jobs for girls and women, despite initial promises to the contrary. A year on, teenage girls are still barred from school and women are required to cover themselves head-to-toe in public, with only the eyes showing.

Some are trying to find ways to keep education from stalling for a generation of young women and underground schools in homes have spring up.

A year ago, thousands of Afghans had rushed to Kabul International Airport to flee the Taliban amid the US military's chaotic withdrawal from Kabul after 20 years of war — America’s longest conflict.

Some flights resumed relatively quickly after those chaotic days. On Monday, a handful of commercial flights were scheduled to land and take off from a runway that last summer saw Afghan men clinging to the wheels of planes taking off, some falling to their death.

Schoolyards stood empty Monday as the Taliban announced a public holiday to mark the day, which they refer to as “The Proud Day of Aug. 15" and the “First Anniversary of the Return to Power.”

“Reliance on God and the support of the people brought this great victory and freedom to the country,” wrote Abdul Wahid Rayan, the head of the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency. “Today, Aug. 15, marks the victory of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan against America and its allies occupation of Afghanistan.”

During a gathering to mark the anniversary, the Taliban deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, offered congratulations to “the entire nation on the day of the conquest of Kabul, which was the beginning of the complete end of the occupation.”

In remarks broadcast live by state radio and TV, he boasted of what he described as “great achievements" under the Taliban, such as an alleged end of corruption, improved security and banned poppy cultivation.

On the eve of the anniversary, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani defended what he said was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the humiliation of surrender to the insurgents. He told CNN that on the morning of Aug. 15, 2021, with the Taliban at the gates of Kabul, he was the last one at the presidential palace after his guards had disappeared.

Tomas Niklasson, the European Union's special envoy to Afghanistan, said the bloc of nations remains committed to the Afghan people and to "stability, prosperity and sustainable peace in Afghanistan and the region.”

“This will require an inclusive political process with full, equal and meaningful participation of all Afghan men and women and respect for human rights,” Niklasson wrote.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said an international responsibility toward Afghanistan remains after the NATO withdrawal.

“A regime that tramples on human rights cannot under any circumstances be recognized,” she said in a statement. “But we must not forget the people in Afghanistan, even a year after the Taliban takeover.”

By Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Ebrahim Noroozi

US launches successful operation against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan


Over the weekend, US Special Forces conducted a successful counterterrorism operation against the al-Qaeda militant organization. (banned in the Russian Federation) in Afghanistan, there are no casualties among civilians. This was announced on Monday by a senior White House official, according to the press pool of the American president.

“Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan directed against an important target associated with al-Qaeda” ;. The operation was successful, there were no civilian casualties,” a senior official in the US presidential administration said. According to the press service of the White House, American leader Joe Biden intends to make an appeal regarding the conduct of this special operation.

Fox News, citing two intelligence sources, reports that during the operation with the help of a CIA drone al-Qaeda leader killed Ayman Al-Zawahiri .


Kabulov announced a threefold increase in the number of IS fighters in Afghanistan

The number of fighters of the banned terrorist organization has risen to 6,000 under the rule of the Taliban, said Zamir Kabulov, special envoy of the Russian president for Afghanistan. The authorities also failed to reduce poppy cultivation

After coming to power in Afghanistan in August last year, the Taliban the number of the ISIS terrorist group has increased (both groups are terrorist and banned in Russia), Zamir Kabulov, director of the second department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, special representative of the Russian president for Afghanistan, said at a press conference in Moscow (broadcast was conducted on the website of the Rossiya Segodnya MIA).

According to him, “the estimated number reached 6 thousand people, although after the Taliban came to power their number was about 2 thousand,” but before the arrival of the Taliban, the number of ISIS was “more than 10 thousand.” “Even offhand a threefold increase. This is the most negative side of the development of the Afghan situation,»,— said Kabulov.

According to the diplomat, although opposition to the Taliban government continues in Afghanistan, now “there is no force that can create a counterbalance to the current government.” The Taliban, continued Kabulov, continue to learn how to run the country, they “hardly, but understand” the need to create a genuine ethno-political inclusive government, but for now they continue to think in terms of winners and believe that they deserve to govern the country on their own. One of the main challenges for the new authorities of the country, the diplomat pointed out, is the economy. With humanitarian aid entering the country in small batches and international aid funds frozen, the Taliban are cannot cope with the cultivation of opium poppy. Although the Taliban promised to make the country drug-free. “A good goal is shattered by the everyday life. Around the cultivation of opium poppy, 5-6 million people feed, and to deprive them of this production by force, without giving anything in return, this will put the country on the verge of serious internal strife, — Kabulov said. Stop exports to the Taliban unlikely to succeed, he pointed out, since drug trafficking is organized by experienced international groups.

Once again, the situation in Afghanistan was discussed at the international conference “Afghanistan: security and economic development” that ended on July 26 in Uzbekistan. Chaired the conference. Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Vladimir Norov. It was attended by special representatives of the EU, Great Britain, Iran, Italy, Spain, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, China, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, the USA, Japan, Turkey, representatives of the UN and other international organizations, as well as a delegation led by and about. Foreign Minister of the interim government of the Taliban movement Emirkhan Muttaki. Russia was represented by Zamir Kabulov. According to him, representatives of Western countries tried to divert the discussion towards the “human rights dimension and other hypocritical idle talk”, but regional countries sharpened the need to urgently resolve issues such as the unconditional unfreezing of national assets worth $7 billion.

If at previous conferences of this kind there was a discussion of the intra-Afghan peace process, then at Tashkent, the need for the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan came to the fore, Arkady Dubnov, an expert on Central Asian countries who participated in the conference, told RBC. According to him, the conference revealed the different attitudes of the world powers: “Even if we exclude the Ukrainian background, the atmosphere was very tense. It was not immediately noticeable, but there were no flags of countries in the congress hall, there was no final communique, which would indicate a general consensus, instead a statement was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan. Nevertheless, the meeting was attended by US Special Representative Tom West, representatives of China, countries — neighbors of Afghanistan, and in the course of discussions there has been a movement on the issue of unfreezing Afghan assets. In the context of confrontation between the West and Russia, it is the Tashkent platform that can become the leading one in ensuring a dialogue on Afghanistan, and Washington, Beijing, Moscow, and the countries of the region, including Pakistan and Iran, have confidence in Tashkent, Dubnov emphasizes. Uzbekistan intends to continue work and contacts with the Taliban government, this fits into the implementation of the so-called “Mirziyoyev Doctrine”, aimed at building good neighborly relations with neighboring countries, the expert says.

Authors Tags Subscribe to Telegram RBC Stay informed the latest news even in conditions of blocking


Investigations threatening Biden’s career are listed: from Afghanistan to son’s outrages

Republicans are already plotting strikes against the Democratic president

As the fall approaches, with the midterm elections in the United States, American political passions are heating up. And the Republicans are hoping for revenge and are already making plans to fight the Democratic administration of Joe Biden, preparing various investigations for the president for 2023, which are designed to spoil the blood of the head of the White House and the Democrats who support him.

Republicans know they are legally limited even if they win a majority in Congress next year, writes Politico. Therefore, they plan to focus on investigations of the situation on the American border, on the problem of infant formula and much more.

House Republicans plan to bombard the Joe Biden administration next year with investigations ranging from Hunter Biden to the situation on the border and the chaotic US exodus from Afghanistan.

As the Republican Party gears up for a likely takeover of the House of Representatives next year, future committee chairs have laid out a long list of oversight goals. The most important Republican targets are those that could politically strike a Democratic president ahead of 2024: his rogue son Hunter's business dealings, Afghanistan, the origin of the coronavirus, the causes of inflation, and the US-Mexico border.

One of the pain points – the investigation of the disgraceful withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Republican lawmakers and veterans' groups are calling for an investigation and open congressional hearing into how the Biden administration handled the withdrawal of soldiers and the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies from the militant-taken country in 2021.

According to a letter obtained in June by NBC News, eight GOP congressmen on the subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation called for “a thorough investigation into President Biden's bungled withdrawal of US troops from the country.” The letter was addressed to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks.

Republican members of the subcommittee overseeing Afghanistan argue that the State Department did not establish a procedure for evacuating Americans from Afghanistan, but instead relied on “informal networks of veterans, congressional staff, and NGOs to do their job of coordinating with American citizens and Afghans on the ground.” . Important questions remain unanswered regarding planning, intelligence, decision-making, interagency coordination, the consequences and consequences of the withdrawal, they were clearly false.

Eighteen groups of veterans also joined the call for an investigation and public hearings with testimony from members of the Biden administration. “The American people deserve answers about what happened in Afghanistan,” they wrote.

Months before the midterm elections, Republican lawmakers are already working behind the scenes to determine which committee and how much of the investigative action will receive in next year, says Politico.

Republicans see oversight of the executive branch as a major part of their 2023 agenda, in part because a divided government will leave no room for most of their legislative priorities. The investigations also give the GOP a high-profile chance to send subpoenas and pointed questions to Biden officials ahead of 2024, when conservatives hope to also take over the Senate and the White House.

Republicans still need to determine timelines and other specifics for each investigation, but they have already taken initial steps, such as requests for preservation of documents.

After four years in the minority in the House of Representatives, the Republicans have accumulated a list of topics that need to be studied. Their real problem, GOP legislators predict, will not be finding areas to investigate, but rather sifting their attention.

“It's not something we should be screaming, 'Okay, what are we going to do?' It's more of a limiting factor, we only have 50 weeks a year,” said Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas.

Jamie Comer, a Republican of Kentucky, says he is now trying to lay the groundwork to he and his members could get started right now in January.

Republicans on the committee plan to launch high-profile investigations into the president's son Hunter Biden's dealings with foreign clients, but they also want to focus on eliminating wasteful government spending

They are also expected to investigate the lack of infant formula in the United States and the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the use of formula.

“In the first three to four months, we will spend a lot of time on hearings to investigate, and then be very active in the subcommittee process, focusing on significant waste, fraud and abuse,” says Jamie Comer.

Comer said he is already in talks with expected committee chairs to avoid duplication of investigative work. For example, the U.S.-Mexico border is expected to be a hotspot for several committees.

Jim Jordan, who could be chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was quick to point to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas and the U.S.-Mexico border as the focus attention of his group in 2023.

“We certainly need to learn more about Mallorcas' terrible way – deliberate I think – about how he runs the Department of Homeland Security,” Jordan said.

Jordan pointed to two potential areas he wanted to explore: border enforcement and the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security “disinformation” council, which the department subsequently suspended following a torrent of criticism from the Republican Party. Jordan also spoke to Senate Republicans who are mulling their own plans to investigate if they can take control of the upper house this fall.

Some conservatives are pushing to investigate allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, highlighting how Former President Donald Trump's statements in this regard have taken root in the Republican Party.

And while Republicans' legislative dreams will have to rise to a high bar – given Biden's ability to veto anything over the next two years – they see their oversight goals aligned with their legislative agenda, giving them another front to put pressure on Biden and Democrats in Congress. Investigations have a longer political half-life, spanning weeks and months after a single vote, notes Politico.

While the court is on the case, the federal investigation into Hunter Biden's business activities is approaching a critical moment, according to CNN.

While a final decision on whether to indict the son of President Joe Biden has yet to be made, sources say the investigation has intensified in recent months, along with discussions between Delaware prosecutors, investigating investigators, and officials at Justice Department headquarters.


There have been recent discussions of possible allegations that could include alleged tax violations and false claims in connection with Biden Jr.'s purchase of firearms at a time when he would have been banned from doing so due to his admitted drug problem.


The investigation into the case of the son of an American president ranks high among the politically charged issues that Attorney General Merrick Garland faces in office.

Leading an investigation into Biden son that began back in 2018, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss is one of the few former President Donald Trump appointees left behind by the Biden administration because they oversaw politically sensitive investigations.

Increasing the pressure, Congressional Republicans have already announced that if they lead the House of Representatives after the midterm elections, they plan to open new investigations and hold hearings to look into the behavior of not only Hunter Biden, but other members of the Biden family.

Also potentially involved are Justice Department guidelines governing politically sensitive investigations in an election year. Current and former DOJ officials say there is an unwritten rule that prosecutors must not bring politically sensitive cases within 60 days of an election.

Some current and former DOJ officials argue whether the rules must apply in this case because Joe Biden is not voting in the midterms.

As noted by CNN, Hunter Biden has not been charged with anything and has previously denied any wrongdoing. His father is not under investigation as part of his son's business investigation, according to sources.

The DOJ investigation initially focused on Hunter Biden's financial and business activities in foreign countries, dating back to when Joe Biden was Vice President of the United States.

But investigators looked into a number of broader activities, including whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated money laundering, campaign finance, taxes, and foreign interest lobbying laws, and whether Biden Jr. violated federal firearms laws and other regulations. , multiple sources said.

As the investigation reached its final stages, prosecutors were focusing on the tax and weapons charges, people said.

Justice officials debated the validity of the case for months and debated whether more work was needed before deciding on possible charges.

Hunter Biden has publicly discussed his substance abuse issues, and some justice officials questioned whether whether his open discussions of his past drug use might weaken their case if they bring it up.

Some officials noted that Biden could claim he was unaware of the offense because he was taking drugs, one source said. But more recently, justice officials have coalesced around the notion that Biden's own public accounts of his recovery show that he bears full responsibility for the actions now under scrutiny.

According to another source, officials in the meetings also discussed the timing of any possible charges, given the sensitivity of linking a political case to an election.

The US Department of Justice memos advise prosecutors not to initiate any proceedings or take any open investigative action to influence the election or to give advantages or disadvantages to any candidate. Typically in the United States, attorneys general recommend avoiding major investigations or charges before an election for the sake of impartiality.

True, in 2018, the final year of the midterm congressional elections, prosecutors filed two politically sensitive cases in August: one against Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, and another against Chris Collins, then a Republican congressman and former Trump supporter. In both cases, prosecutors ruled on the charges with an election in mind, people familiar with the cases say.

In August of that year, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance, tax violations and other charges and served a three-year prison sentence. term. And Chris Collins, who won his re-election when he was indicted, later pleaded guilty and resigned. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison, but the politician served only two months – he was pardoned by President Donald Trump.

Trump's justice system officials rejected the request of the New York prosecutor's office to issue a search warrant for Rudy Giuliani, one of the personal lawyers Trump during the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election. The Joe Biden administration's Department of Justice later gave the green light to the search, which was approved by a federal judge.


Biden announced plans to exclude Afghanistan from the main allies of the United States

Biden announced plans to exclude Afghanistan from the main US allies outside NATO Washington included Kabul among its main allies outside NATO in 2012. Now US President Biden plans to reverse this decision

US President Joe Biden notified Congress of his intention to deprive Afghanistan of the status of a major ally outside NATO. This was reported on the website of the White House.

“In accordance with section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2321k), I give notice of my intention to revoke the designation of Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally,” — the report says.

The United States included Afghanistan among its main allies outside the North Atlantic Alliance in 2012.

United States February 29, 2020 and the Taliban (recognized as terrorist and banned in Russia) signed a peace agreement in Doha. Washington pledged to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. The Taliban guaranteed that they would not use Afghan territory for actions that threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

The Biden administration decided to honor the agreements reached with the Taliban, but changed the withdrawal deadline. The Taliban considered this decision a violation of the agreements.

The situation in the country escalated in July after the announcement of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country. It was planned that the Americans would leave Afghanistan on September 11, but the Taliban began to rapidly seize territory subordinate to government troops. The United States began to evacuate its personnel and embassy staff.

Read on RBC Pro Pro Decline of property rights: is it possible to protect it abroad today? Articles Pro Tax disputes: what to pay attention to right now Pro cases 11 gadgets that will help improve sleep Articles Pro $115 billion lobbying: how the Koch brothers built their oil empire deepfake: is it possible to protect yourself from it – world practice Articles Pro “I'll write to the president”: where to complain if your labor rights have been violated Instructions Pro Live to 120 years: why does the co-founder of PayPal take growth hormone Articles

By mid-August 2021, the Taliban came to authorities in Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani fled to the UAE. The Taliban formed a government and announced plans to recreate an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan.

In October of the same year, Foreign Minister in the interim government of Afghanistan, Amir Khan Mutaki, announced that the Taliban met all the conditions for the international community to recognize him as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

In February of this year, Amir Khan Mutaki said that the US authorities still have not excluded official representatives of the new government of Afghanistan from the black lists. At the same time, the minister assured that the Afghan authorities will keep their promises and will not allow the use of the territory of their country against the United States.

Authors Tags Subscribe to RuTube RBC Live broadcasts, videos and recordings of programs on our RuTube channel


Putin in Tajikistan will discuss Afghanistan and the Taliban

Photo: Global Look Press

Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said that special attention during the visit of Vladimir Putin to Tajikistan, which will take place on -June 29, will be given to the situation in Afghanistan. According to him, this is the main problem for Dushanbe.

“Given the current difficult situation in this country, it is planned to discuss joint measures to ensure the border security of Tajikistan, prevent the infiltration of radicals from Afghan territory and issues of defense construction,” – Ushakov said, noting that Russia and Tajikistan are making vigorous efforts to combat terrorism and the drug threat emanating from Afghanistan.

He stressed that Moscow is helping Dushanbe in the military sphere, in particular, is participating in the modernization of the Tajik army.

Speaking about the possibility of recognizing the Taliban (the Taliban is recognized as a terrorist organization and banned in the Russian Federation), Yuri Ushakov stressed that the conditions set by the UN Security Council must be met for this.

He recalled that Russia has working and trade contacts with representatives of the Taliban. However, official recognition, according to him, depends on the fulfillment of the conditions indicated by the UN. 


In the United States compared the reception of refugees from Ukraine and from Afghanistan

In summer, the number of Ukrainians who moved to the United States will reach 100,000

This summer, the United States promises to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Since the beginning of March, at least 71,000 people from Ukraine have already entered the States, fleeing the conflict in their homeland. Meanwhile, despite the loud promises of the White House, human rights activists criticize the actions of the Biden administration to receive migrants.

Smaller At least 71,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the US since March, and President Biden has promised to take in 100,000 people, writes The Guardian.

To date, more than 15,000 Ukrainians have entered the US after being approved for sponsorship under the Unity for Ukraine program, according to data from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided to NBC. Another 23,000 people have been approved but have not yet made the journey; the organization of trips depends on the Ukrainians or their sponsors.

Since the program launched in April, donors including friends, family, non-governmental organizations and church groups have submitted online applications to support more than 60,000 Ukrainians wishing to enter the United States. There are about 1,400 new online sponsorship applications for individual Ukrainians, according to the Washington Post.

In recent years, the US has become an increasingly hostile environment for many migrants and refugees, but Ukrainians are mostly welcomed without controversy, notes The Guardian .

According to the UN, at least 12 million Ukrainians have been displaced due to the conflict in their country. Of these, almost 5.3 million have taken refuge in European countries, including 1.8 million in the Russian Federation, 1.2 million in Poland, 780,000 in Germany and 120,000 in Spain. About 7 million Ukrainians are considered internally displaced.

With such a huge number of refugees, The Guardian notes, the Biden administration is likely to face pressure to raise the ceiling for Ukrainians allowed into the US.


While the number of Ukrainians arriving through the Citizen Sponsorship Scheme is growing, most of those who have made it to the United States to date have arrived on valid visas or have crossed the border between Mexico and the United States in the south.

At the southern border, nearly 24,000 Ukrainians crossed the U.S. border at land crossings such as Tijuana from March to May, according to Customs and Border Protection. Since then, Ukrainians have been subject to the same land border restrictions that have been placed on tens of thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans who have largely been barred from seeking asylum due to a controversial executive order that has been in place and selectively enforced since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Washington Post, at the current rate of accepting refugees from Ukraine, the Biden administration could reach its goal of accepting 100,000 Ukrainians this summer, announced in April. Officials stressed that this number is a commitment, not a ceiling; this means that the reception can – and should – continue after the promised mark is reached.

Given that the conflict in Ukraine could become protracted, the US administration would be wise to prepare for a long-term commitment, emphasizes The Washington Post. Most Ukrainians who left their homes hoping to return soon have been waiting in neighboring countries – Poland, Romania, Moldova and other countries of Eastern Europe. As the conflict drags on, more Ukrainians are likely to take advantage of resettlement opportunities further west to Western Europe and Canada, as well as the United States.

The Biden administration's sponsorship program is groundbreaking, freeing the government from its traditional role of resettling and supporting refugees. For now, this is a workable solution, but it only allows you to stay in the US for two years. This should not prevent Ukrainians who do not have U.S. sponsors from applying to enter the country through the regular refugee channel, a long-term process that allows them to settle permanently in the United States, writes The Washington Post.

Department of the Interior data shows that most of those Ukrainians who have entered the U.S. so far arrived on visas or crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, rather than through the Biden administration's Uniting for Ukraine web portal, which allows Americans to sponsor Ukrainians they know.

President and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Krish O'Mara Vinyaraja, says the Biden administration is inflating the number of Ukrainians it has worked on because only 15,000 have gone through the system it created: who actually did not go through the “Unity for Ukraine” program. I think the numbers show the current specific nature of the program. Ukrainian refugees are creatively exploring every avenue to find asylum in the US. But we have to make it as simple and clear as possible.”

As NBC News reports, only 300 Ukrainians have been resettled under the traditional US refugee program, which uses federal funds to take United Nations-verified refugees and resettle them in communities with resources to help find doctors, schools, jobs and connections. with their culture.

While Biden vowed to revisit the program after the Trump administration cut it drastically, his administration used emergency humanitarian powers to quickly but temporarily bring in the Afghans and Ukrainians. Many Afghans who served with US troops are left stranded in Afghanistan, which is now under the control of the Taliban (the organization is recognized as a terrorist organization and banned in the Russian Federation), while others brought to the US find themselves forced to wait in long lines to apply for benefits such as work permits.

Lacey Bromel, a political analyst for the International Refugee Project, says the large number of Ukrainians admitted to the US shows what the Biden administration could accept more refugees from other countries if they wanted to do it: “It's a reflection that when they have the political will, they can do it. We want the same to apply to Afghans who are still awaiting parole and to other populations awaiting admission under the US Refugee Program.”


Shoigu said that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating

Photo: Gennady Cherkasov

The situation in Afghanistan remains tense and continues to deteriorate, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Ruslan Zhaksylykov.

“Everyone began to forget Afghanistan a little, but nothing has changed there. The situation remains rather tense and serious. Everything that our American colleagues left there continues to degrade,” Shoigu said.

According to him, risks are growing in Afghanistan. This is a manifestation of international terrorism, a weapon left behind by the Americans and “into not the best hands.”

Recall that in August, the terrorist organization Taliban, banned in the Russian Federation, seized Afghanistan and established its government there.


The Foreign Ministry announced Putin’s decision to allocate grain to Afghanistan

The specific volume of deliveries will be determined by the government depending on the situation in Afghanistan. In the near future, the first crop will be harvested in the country, by which it will be possible to determine this indicator, but it may not be enough for up to 30% of the grain

Vladimir Putin approved the allocation of food aid to Afghanistan in case of need, said on the air of Channel One Special Representative of the President for Afghanistan and Director of the Second Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov.

“The Interdepartmental Commission, following the results of its work in Afghanistan, reported its views to the President. And Vladimir Vladimirovich gave the green light in principle to allocate, if necessary, a certain amount of grain, taking into account the expected good harvest in Russia, — said the diplomat.

According to Kabulov, the government will determine the specific volume of supplies depending on the situation. The official said that the economic situation in Afghanistan remains difficult and “may worsen this summer due to the fact that last winter was not very snowy, the prospects for the harvest are disappointing.”

Fighting breaks out in Afghanistan between Uzbek Taliban militants and their counterparts

Fighting broke out in Afghanistan between Uzbek Taliban militants and their counterparts in another province. The confrontation unfolded in the administrative center of the province of Takhar – the city of Taluqan. According to preliminary data, Pashtun nationalists came to detain militants who were suspected of having links with the Islamic State (an organization banned in the Russian Federation). However, the Uzbeks did not agree with the accusations and put up armed resistance. Civilians were reportedly killed in the shootout.

At the beginning of the year, similar clashes took place within the Taliban in Faryab province. The Uzbek part of the group also turned out to be one of the parties to the conflict.

It was also reported that in Afghanistan, unknown people staged a series of terrorist attacks against Taliban militants. Explosions thundered in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunar and Kunduz. The terrorists set off roadside IEDs as Taliban vehicles passed by. According to preliminary data, at least ten Pashtun nationalists were liquidated during the explosions, and several more were injured. In the capital of the province of Balkh – the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, two people were killed during the shelling of the car of airport employees, six more were injured. No one has yet taken responsibility for the attacks. IS militants are believed to be behind the attacks.

A day earlier, a jihadist explosion of a roadside IED killed six people working in a Taliban prison.


Afghanistan took advantage of the situation with Ukraine and lowered the “iron” curtain

Citizens are not allowed out of the country

The other day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the accreditation of the first diplomat from the Taliban government (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation) in the Russian Federation.


Photo: Global Look Press

Now the events in Afghanistan have faded into the background. There is practically no information about what is happening in the country.

Naimi Ahmad Shoaib, an economist and supporter of the Afghan National Resistance Front, described how the Taliban took advantage of the situation while the world community is following the events around Ukraine.

– As far as I know, this person has been in Russia for a long time. He is trying to interact with the embassy staff, but there is no specific information about him, says Naimi Ahmad Shoaib. – The fact is that ghost people are sitting in the leadership of the Taliban. They have no biography, no one knows where they came from, what they did before. I suspect that this diplomat is the same “dark horse” for many. So far, there is no understanding in what format he plans to fulfill his duties. According to rumors, the people who now work in the embassy do not recognize the current regime. Now they will have a new headache.

“Terrible things are happening there. The Taliban have broken all the promises they made earlier. They said that they would allow girls to study at schools and universities. And when the girls came to the first lesson, after a couple of hours they were forced to leave the educational institutions. And then a decree came out that girls were allowed to attend school until the sixth grade. There is a video where schoolgirls with tears in their eyes complained about this bullying.

The Taliban use the closure of schools for girls as a bargaining chip with the world community. They say if they help us economically and politically, we will allow education for women.

The Taliban also talked about amnesty. So there was no amnesty. Moreover, every day there is information that in Afghanistan someone was shot, kidnapped, and so on. More than a month ago, the Taliban kidnapped thirty activists. They released two people. The fate of the rest is unknown. Nobody knows their whereabouts. These are ordinary peaceful people who worked in government agencies.

The other day there was news that a doctor who worked under the former government was killed and burned. The Taliban commit atrocities and at the same time are not ashamed to travel to different countries, participate in events, receive a platform for statements. Stuff like that is shocking.

– In recent days, the Taliban have begun to work more actively in this direction. Especially in those places where there are resistance forces.

There remains an alarming story with the passports that they issue to anyone. People from Pakistan and other countries come to the country and calmly receive an Afghan passport. It is difficult to calculate how many passports and to whom the Taliban issued them. Nobody knows.

But ordinary citizens of Afghanistan cannot get passports. Do not issue documents and cultural figures. The latter can get a passport if they make a public apology for what they used to do, write, cover.

There is one well-known religious figure in Afghanistan. He has been trying to get a passport for several months now. When the man asked what the problem was, he was offered to apologize on camera for what he had done before.

The culture in Afghanistan is sad now. The Taliban banned the traditional spring holiday Navruz.

Now you can’t go to the park with your family, get some fresh air. The Taliban came up with a schedule: women walk on one day, men on another. Together prohibited.

A lot of strange things have happened lately. The fact is that the Taliban took advantage of the moment when the entire world community is occupied by Ukraine. Nobody pays any attention to them. Everyone was not up to Afghanistan. Therefore, now they are trying to destroy as many people as possible who do not agree with their regime. For more than a month they have been actively cleaning the population, fighting the resistance forces. Their hands are untied, because they are no longer looked after. During this time, they want to achieve all the goals.

– Recently, the Taliban came up with a dress code that all civil servants must comply with. People must wear specific clothes to work, and men must wear a certain length of beard. A person will not be hired if his beard is slightly longer or shorter than it should be. The beard is measured with a ruler.

The Taliban are constantly coming up with rules that drive people crazy. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. People have nothing to eat, they are dying of hunger, someone has lost their homes, they have nothing left, and at this time the Taliban come up with dress codes.

Many citizens of Afghanistan morally surrendered, agreed to work under their control, do whatever they say.

– Is there no more humanitarian aid coming to Afghanistan?

– There is nothing left. And the Taliban sold the aid that came in, or allocated it at their own discretion. A small part reached the needy.

– Foreign media have been banned from working in Afghanistan. It is almost impossible to get information from there. Locals, risking their lives, record the events themselves, film them, pass them on to friends who live abroad to publish them.

The Taliban recently released an activist who was kidnapped a month and a half ago. Then it was filmed. It was clear from her gestures and emotions what condition she was in. Apparently, the woman survived hunger, torture, and bullying. I couldn't even speak properly. She was forced to come to terms, to end her active life, rallies. She no longer fights for women's rights.

All activists released from custody, university teachers who had their own views, disappeared from the media, are not shown anywhere, do not write anything. We cannot imagine what they did to them there, what torture they were subjected to in order to silence them.

– Under the new order, a woman cannot leave the country without an escort. And now the citizens of Afghanistan are no longer allowed to go abroad. The Taliban believe that so many people have already left, enough, let the rest stay.

Yes, and they have nowhere else to go. Citizens of Afghanistan are not accepted anywhere. Many who recently struggled to get out of the country were immediately sent back. The nearest neighboring countries say: we can no longer accept refugees, we have no opportunities, we ourselves are under sanctions. Even those citizens who have visas are not allowed into the country.

People are forced to stay and live in fear. There is no other way out.


Billions froze: how Afghanistan wintered under the rule of the Taliban

More than 20 million people in Afghanistan need some form of assistance, the UN said. RBC video


Subscribe to FB RBC Get news faster than anyone else


Local residents who fled from Afghanistan were evacuated from Ukraine


The Washington Post, citing a source in the State Department, reported that a group of 44 Afghans, whom Ukraine in September last year, they evacuated from Afghanistan, they wanted to leave Ukraine.

“On the eve of the second evacuation, a group consisting of 44 Afghans, whom the Ukrainian military evacuated from the country to Kiev in September last year,” writes the media.

It is specified that nine families went to Doha. There, their documents will be processed for further entry into the United States.


Boris Gromov: “The entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan was a catastrophic mistake”

The USSR overestimated its power

February 15 marks the 33rd anniversary of the end of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. This unique operation was led by the Hero of the Soviet Union, General Boris Gromov, who then commanded the 40th Army.

He shared his thoughts and experiences of those years in the recently published book Three Lives of One Man.


Life number one in it is dedicated to the Afghan events more than thirty years ago, in which, by the will of fate, Boris Vsevolodovich took part for five and a half years out of nine, during which there was a war in Afghanistan.

– It's simple. Afghanistan is one of the most difficult and tragic pages of my life. Because I spent a total of five and a half years in Afghanistan, that is, more than any of the military people, and not only really know this country and the events of those years that took place there better than others. The main thing is that they, these events, radically influenced the fate of our great country – the USSR. Very little was said about it then, and it is said today. And my book is the result of what I experienced and saw in Afghanistan with my own eyes; which I extracted after a long study of the archives on this topic.

— This decision was a catastrophic mistake. Because:

First. The war in Afghanistan led to numerous casualties, swallowed up huge material resources, destabilized the situation in the world, in Central Asia, and intensified the political radicalization of Islam. In reality, it was one of the factors that influenced the collapse of the USSR.

Second. At the end of the 70s, there was no need to send Soviet troops to Afghanistan, since there were no reasons for this, although the desire of the Soviet Union to keep this “friendly” country under its control was great. The main factor in the decision to send troops to the DRA turned out to be the “personal”, subjective factor. On the part of the leadership of the USSR, a clear overestimation of their own power and an underestimation of the ability of the Afghans to resist was allowed. The general situation in the region is poorly worked out, and especially the possible influence of an external factor, that is, the United States and its allies. The tasks were set by our leadership to the maximum, and the forces for their implementation were allocated to the minimum.

Third. The decision of the Soviet leadership to send troops to the DRA was taken without a proper assessment of the situation and the development of the situation, without an analysis of the scale and methods of the upcoming hostilities. The leaders of the USSR had a vague idea of ​​the final result of the introduction of troops. But to plan and start a war like that is complete madness. Fortunately for them, throughout the course of the war, our troops “corrected” the voluntaristic decisions of the Moscow “generals”. War must be taken very seriously and thoroughly.

On December 26, 1979, National Security Assistant Zbigniew Brzezinski sent a memorandum to President Jimmy Carter regarding the entry of Soviet troops. He immediately felt the benefit of the United States in connection with the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan and decided to take advantage of the unique chance provided to intensify subversive activities against the Soviet Union. The United States eventually managed to direct the vector of Islamic extremism against the USSR, and later – Russia and other states of Central Asia, Yugoslavia … At the same time, the CIA directed its activities not to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan, but to prevent their exit in order to create economic ruin and undermining the political authority of the USSR in the world. They proceeded from the fact that Soviet leaders, who hardly admit their mistakes, will stand in Afghanistan to the last soldier.

– Certainly. But I wouldn't use the word “intervention” at all. We entered there at the request of the legitimate authorities. Just like now in Syria. These were legitimate authorities, they asked us to send troops. The alternative, if we wanted to help Afghanistan (and the Soviet Union wanted to help and always did), was the same as before: continue to increase military-technical and economic assistance, train military specialists, engineers, and transport workers. That, I think, was the only alternative.

– Indeed, disputes about whether the 40th Army won or lost the war in Afghanistan still do not subside. The most correct thing is that there is no subject of dispute, because we, the 40th Army, did not have the task of winning by military means, such a task did not exist in nature. It did not exist either in the orders of the Minister of Defense, or in the directives of the Chief of the General Staff, and even more so in some instructions of the Central Committee of the CPSU or the Soviet government. That is why the appropriate structure and strength of the Limited Contingent of Soviet Troops in Afghanistan was selected!

Therefore, periodically appearing statements and statements of various kinds of “politicians” and representatives of other professions that the 40th Army was defeated in Afghanistan are ordinary lies and cheap populism on the bones of our guys. And if such a task (God forbid) stood, then be sure that it would be completed, but at the same time there would be a sea of ​​blood.

Our “smart theorists” all the time talk about supposedly unfulfilled military tasks . You are our experts!..

But no one has ever dared to consider the fulfillment, or rather, the failure to fulfill the main political tasks during their stay in the DRA.

Apparently, something interfered, but maybe someone else.

For all the time that we were there, we did not allow a single army of the world not only to violate the border of Afghanistan, but also to try to invade its territory. To prevent this was the main official task for us (40th Army)!

In the course of its implementation, we ground a huge number of militants and terrorists. This was our great contribution to the impending fight against terrorism in most countries of the world.

“It didn't happen right away. Three years after the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the situation in Afghanistan was more or less normal and stable. And only when Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin decided to stop providing economic assistance to Afghanistan, then after that everything changed dramatically, and a catastrophe occurred. The country plunged into chaos, a war of all against all, accompanied by the grandiose violence of the Taliban against the civilian population.

— Of course, right. There was no alternative. And it is very important that it was necessary to withdraw the troops within the time period determined by the Geneva agreements. Which we did – confidently, beautifully and with virtually no losses, unlike the United States and NATO, which disgraced themselves in the same situation, showed their incompetence and unsupported megalomania.

— Most likely, they would have resisted . But when the faithful Leninist internationalist Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin decided to stop helping, everything fell apart. Literally right away.

— No, I don't think so. Time has been lost. I really feel sorry for this man that he was treated like this and abandoned him. The Taliban caught him in Kabul, killed him, mutilated his body and hung him from a tree in the city center.

– In my book, I showed archival documents on this topic. The numbers are huge. But I never found the final amount anywhere.

– Without a doubt, the war in Afghanistan was a serious impetus to the beginning of the collapse of a great country – the Soviet Union. This is obvious even today, several decades after its (war) end!

— There are many differences: both in goals, and in tasks, and in the methods of their implementation. But the main thing was that the Afghans and I were honest both in battle and in ordinary life! We treated ordinary Afghans with respect, helped them a lot in everything, and they appreciated it and still remember it!

I am immensely glad that our 40th army – or, as it was also called, The limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan showed itself in those difficult war years from the best side, and its soldiers – our boys, boys, officers and generals serving the Soviet army – showed real courage, heroism, courage and devotion to their homeland, which today can be proud of its “Afghan” soldiers.


The Taliban “squeezed” Biden: Washington will help the people of Afghanistan with money

The US President is preparing to unfreeze part of the Afghan cash assets

The US administration has developed a plan to partially “unfreeze” cash accounts belonging to the Bank of Afghanistan. The funds released as a result of the decree – which is expected to be signed by US President Joe Biden in the coming hours – will be distributed in two directions. One part of the funds is intended for the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the other is to support the Afghan population. And if in the first case we are talking about an intra-American case in which the US authorities have their own interest, then in the second, what is happening in fact acquires an international scale.

Photo: AP

According to The New York Times, the development of a procedure to “unfreeze” Afghan money has been going on for a long time, even before the Taliban (a terrorist group banned in Russia) came to power in Kabul last year. The original goal of the White House was to pay out the funds owed to the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, from the assets of the terrorists themselves. But since the latter did not just send money to accounts through an ATM, then even from a legal point of view, the rationale for withdrawing these funds required a long study.

The situation was aggravated by the triumph of the Taliban in August 2021. The militants, who proclaimed themselves the new and only power, of course, took over the Da Afghanistan bank, with which almost all the assets of the Afghan state are connected in one way or another. Some of the funds were already under international sanctions, and the transfer of the country's main banking institution to the control of the Taliban made it almost impossible to withdraw money from there.

In this context, The Guardian, for example, does not hesitate to call the American plan “highly and unusually complicated.” Of course, the details of his United States authorities are kept secret, but the main thing is known: if Biden signs the decree, then about $ 7 billion deposited with the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York will be released.

The decision of the White House to give part of the money to the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks 20 years after the tragedy was not only the will of the current American leadership: the initiative was long overdue “from below”. So, a few years ago, a group of relatives of victims of a terrorist attack on America won in absentia a case against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda (a terrorist group also banned in Russia), which gave them the right to recover funds. By the way, American legislation is, in principle, quite loyal to such claims, and, apparently, compensation in connection with 9/11 will be paid from various accounts for more than one year.

Obviously, so that the current decree, if signed, does not look like just a nod to the citizens of the United States, Biden intends to send part of the seven billion to some kind of trust fund, from which, under international control, funds will be sent in a precise method – to help the Afghan population, but not the self-proclaimed the Taliban authorities as such. Such a measure is quite logical: even ardent skeptics do not deny that, in the final analysis, we are talking about an amount consisting of both the illegal finances of terrorists and the honestly earned money of law-abiding residents of Afghanistan. This means that they are entitled to their share, albeit provided to them indirectly.

The Taliban, on the other hand, obviously use complex American schemes for their own, much simpler purposes. After the news about the possible signing of the decree by Biden appeared, the resources on which Taliban supporters correspond were already full of messages about the actual recognition of the movement as a legitimate government. But, as already mentioned, we are talking about only part of the Afghan money, which, moreover, will not be transferred to Kabul just like that. However, the media effect for the Taliban has been achieved.

At the same time, some American observers admit that Biden’s move may be hiding a more subtle game aimed at “teasing” the current Afghan leadership and pushing it to new concessions. Such a calculation does not seem too implausible, given the Taliban's accommodating nature in recent months.


Joe Biden misspoke in interview, confusing Afghanistan with Iraq and Ukraine


US President Joe Biden in an interview with NBC called Afghanistan first Ukraine and then Iraq. The American leader confused the countries when answering a question about the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, after a 20-year military campaign.

“We did not have any opportunity to unite Ukraine. That is, excuse me, Iraq. Afghanistan! I emphasize that it was impossible to achieve such results,” Biden said.

Let us recall that after the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the administration of the current President of America was severely criticized. In particular, they were accused of numerous casualties that occurred during last year's withdrawal of military contingent and civilian personnel from Afghanistan.

Earlier, the former doctor of the US presidents, Ronnie Jackson, along with his colleagues in the Republican Party, called on the head of America, Joseph Biden to follow the example of his predecessor and take the Montreal Cognitive Test.


Zamir Kabulov – RBC: “The situation in Afghanistan is even worse than the UN thinks”

Special Representative of the President of Russia for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov in an interview with RBC assessed the first results of the Taliban rule, the prospects for recognition of the government they created and their exclusion from the terrorist lists of Russia and the UN

Zamir Kabulov

“The Taliban will have to create conditions in the country that are normal for most citizens”

— It has been more than five months since the US left Afghanistan and the Taliban came to power there. (a terrorist organization banned in Russia). The UN noted the dramatic situation in humanitarian terms, the growth of unemployment and the country's dependence on humanitarian aid. Do your assessments of the situation differ from those of the UN?

— No, they don't separate. I think the UN's assessment is somewhat overstated. The situation is actually getting worse. We talked about this more than once in previous months, and not only with your TV channel, but also with others. Here is the most cutting example. Last week, 135 children died in Afghanistan, according to an international organization. From hunger. This is inaccurate information, there is simply no more complete data. I think this example illustrates the situation more vividly than anything else.

— The UN Secretary General's report on Afghanistan says that the Taliban have killed about a hundred representatives of the previous government since coming to power. The Taliban themselves refute this figure, but do not exclude the possibility that revenge killings were possible. Does Moscow have any information in defense of the position of one of the parties?

— In this case, we do not act as either defenders or opponents of either side. We have heard information that we do not have the opportunity to double-check through our own sources. But we are talking about still ongoing civil war, and such things, unfortunately, happen there. I can neither confirm nor exclude this message.


— The Taliban made a number of promises, among which & mdash; overcome drug trafficking, allow women to work and get an education, journalists to work, including criticizing the government. So far, none of this has been implemented. In your estimation, can one rely on the statements of the Taliban government when concluding some kind of agreement with them and be sure that they will keep their promises?

— Let's start with the fact that the Taliban did not promise to overcome drug trafficking, because it is impossible. The whole world has been fighting drug trafficking for the past 30 years— the result is obvious. They promised to fight. This is first. Secondly, we have no plans to conclude any agreements with the Taliban. You are right about one thing: all these promises, if fulfilled, are extremely slow to be fulfilled. On the one hand, the Taliban indeed, in contacts with us and other foreign representatives, promised to intensify the fight against drug trafficking, based primarily on religious beliefs and ideas. But the policy of the US and the West blocked the Afghan national financial resources, disconnected the country's banking system from SWIFT, which makes it impossible to transfer money even to ordinary Afghans, not to mention international organizations, including the UN. This puts people in a situation where there are no sources of income. Therefore, Americans and all Westerners, whether they want it or not, encourage the production of drugs themselves, because it becomes almost the only source of income. We must be clear about this. And any hypocrisy on this score is simply inappropriate. With regard to other humanitarian issues, especially the rights of women and girls, in this area, very slowly, but still, something is happening. Just the other day, holidays were announced in Afghanistan in the winter because of the cold. Schools are not heated, so the school year starts in the spring. And I literally saw yesterday a message that universities will start opening on February 2. For girls will open… but in separate classes with young men. Well, we'll see. This is, of course, a small, but still progress. We said yesterday that the Taliban will have to reckon with these realities, the need to create conditions in the country that are normal for the majority of citizens. But it won't happen quickly.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021. The situation in the country escalated with the beginning of the withdrawal of troops of the international coalition led by the United States. After the start of the Taliban offensive, President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and most cities surrendered without a fight. After seizing power, representatives of the Taliban movement promised that they would ensure the rights and freedoms of women within the framework of Sharia law.

The Taliban allowed women to work and study, but only if they wear a hijab that covers the entire body and face. At the same time, women were forbidden to play sports. Later, the Taliban also banned women from riding in taxis without a hijab and traveling long distances without a male escort.

Photo: Jorge Silva/Reuters

— You mentioned freezing accounts. Is there any progress on this issue?

— There are no big moves. In parts, the Americans release certain amounts, while they put forward conditions to the Taliban administration in Kabul so that the Central Bank of Afghanistan is taken out of government control. But this is a capitulation requirement. That doesn't happen. The Americans have forgotten that they lost the war in Afghanistan, and not vice versa. Therefore, it is not for them to set conditions for surrender. And this is a humiliation for any country when its central bank is under the control of any foreign state, so the Taliban reject this. If the central bank is independent, that is, controlled by the Americans, then they are going to think (this is not yet a promise) how to use its accounts to transfer humanitarian aid, salaries and many other promised deposits, in total more than $ 9.5 billion. some of them were released, but this is a drop in the ocean. This does not solve the humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

“The Taliban deservedly are on the UN Security Council sanctions list”

— Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said it was too early to recognize the Taliban government. What needs to change in order for Moscow to change its position?

— He wasn't the only one who said this. Both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of Russia have repeatedly said that there is a set of demands from the world community— above all, the ethnopolitical inclusiveness of the government. There are representatives of other ethnic groups in the government, but they are all members of the Taliban movement. We do not name names, specific personalities, they themselves must determine. Second— we expect the Taliban to uphold basic human rights norms. First of all, of course, this concerns women, their rights to work and other ordinary civil rights. At the same time, we again do not impose our own Russian views on this issue. There is Afghanistan with its cultural and religious traditions. Similar traditions exist in other Muslim countries, and in Arab countries. They somehow solve and regulate this issue. At least as an example, we can take the experience of other countries. When there is not just progress on this issue, but progress, then the conditions will ripen for the official recognition of the new Afghan authorities.

— On the issue of government inclusiveness, the Taliban have not yet shown much activity. How can this problem be solved?

— We will convince. In addition to our beliefs, which are by and large words, there are realities of life. The Taliban, if they came to Afghanistan seriously and for a long time and want to stay in power, will have to manage the country, and govern the country in the absence of material resources, in the absence of external assistance— not only humanitarian, but also economic assistance to the development and restoration of all branches of life of this state— will not succeed, so this factor will have to be taken into account. If there is common sense and a sense of self-preservation, then they will force them to take the necessary steps.

— In your opinion, is it time to remove the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations banned in Russia?

— Here I would like to clarify. Yes, he has arrived. But this decision is made by the President of Russia. And there are a number of steps provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation. My personal point of view— Yes, such a moment is coming, but at the same time we must take into account that the Taliban movement is not a terrorist organization in our country. Although every time I hear it, all the media talk about it. And there is a list of specific individuals with affiliation with the Taliban movement, who are recognized by the UN Security Council as defendants in terrorist lists.

By a 2003 decision of the Supreme Court, the Taliban movement recognized in Russia as terrorist and banned. The decision stated that the movement maintained links with illegal armed groups operating on the territory of Chechnya.

— If we are talking about the UN list, is it time to remove the Taliban from this list and was Russia ready to provide some support in this?

— We have officially spoken about this more than once, that, of course, this moment is approaching, but the speed of its approach to resolution depends on the steps that we have just talked about.

— Nevertheless, would Russia be ready to help the Taliban in this matter, to initiate such a discussion in the UN?

— Then, when the Taliban take convincing steps to fulfill the two demands of the international community— inclusion and basic human rights,— then yes, of course.

— Russian officials at various levels have declared the inadmissibility of turning Afghanistan into a stronghold of international terrorism, but at the same time, the Taliban continue to be on the UN list of terrorist organizations. Could you explain who we consider terrorists in Afghanistan, which groups?

— The Taliban deservedly are on the sanctions list of the UN Security Council for their deeds committed more than 20 years ago. This decision was made then, and now we are dealing with the consequences of that decision. Due to these circumstances, the Taliban were and remain on this list. Although during this time life did not stand still, the Taliban realized many important things, they stopped positioning themselves as an international jihadist organization and were engaged in a purely domestic agenda. As to who [is a terrorist]— yes, the situation created after the flight of the Americans from Afghanistan created favorable conditions for the activation of other, more dangerous ones. Indeed, in the list of international terrorist organizations in the first place is ISIS (a terrorist group banned in Russia.— RBC) and other groups, half a dozen or so smaller, but nevertheless international terrorist organizations that operate in Afghanistan.

But the Taliban, unlike the former Afghan government that fled and the Americans, are really at war with ISIS, they suffer significant losses. But in the absence of funding, when their own Afghan money is frozen in foreign accounts, they cannot even pay salaries to their military personnel to continue their active struggle. Again double standards and hypocrisy. And if someone wanted the Taliban to successfully suppress dangerous international terrorist groups, it was necessary to give them such an opportunity— enhance their respective capabilities.

Photo: Felipe Dana/AP

“The United States continues to develop the idea of ​​​​revenge”

— Recently, there has been much talk about the growing threat of ISIS in Afghanistan and skirmishes between the Taliban and ISIS. How dangerous is this situation and is there, perhaps, some risk of destabilization in the country against this background?

— I already said about these skirmishes in the previous answer: they are fighting for real. There is no danger in this, this is a positive moment. There is another point that I would like to draw attention to: the Taliban are just holding back the expansion of the activities of these international terrorist organizations that threaten neighbors, especially in northern Afghanistan. In addition, we have the impression that the United States, which, understandably, is in a depressing position after it had to leave Afghanistan, has retained and continues to develop the idea in the direction of revenge. They are trying to do everything possible to support the opponents of the Taliban, arm them and enable them to fight against the Taliban. In other words, they sponsor and intend to sponsor the resumption of the civil war on purely ethnic grounds. This is dangerous.

— And how likely is such a scenario?

— This scenario is already working, but the Taliban are suppressing and neutralizing it.

— So you do not exclude the possibility of a new civil war?

— I do not rule out hypothetically the possibility of peace or a new civil war. This will depend on specific cases, not only within Afghanistan, but also on external players. I mentioned one of them. The Americans still cherish the hope in this way, having frightened the neighbors of Afghanistan, to get bases on the territory of these countries in order to offer their services and conditions.

— Tajikistan recently announced the need to create a buffer zone on the border with Afghanistan. Do Moscow consider such proposals justified? Do you see the need to strengthen Russia's security in connection with the situation in Afghanistan?

— First, what kind of buffer zone are we talking about— inside Afghanistan or inside Tajikistan? As far as I understand, Tajikistan has nothing to worry about in this regard— The 201st Russian military base is located in the country. We have active cooperation on a bilateral basis within the framework of the CSTO. From this point of view, everything is fixed there. What does buffer zone mean? Inside Afghanistan to arm people, Afghans, so that they continue the war with each other? I don't think it's in our long-term interest.

— But isn't there a risk of infiltration of militants from Afghanistan to Russia now? Indeed, recently the President of Kazakhstan, Tokayev, said that militants from Afghanistan participated in the January events in the country.

— Such a risk always exists, but I would not exaggerate it. We do not yet know the results of the Kazakh authorities' investigation into the causes of the events that took place there in January. Of course, President Tokayev is probably right when he says that there were fighters from Afghanistan. But these fighters were not sent to this moment. In the south of Kazakhstan, as we knew before and guessed, a lot of Afghans who fled from Afghanistan after the Americans left and the Taliban came to power, who settled down, dug in. Yes, they must have been involved. It was a convenient occasion, perhaps even purely for selfish reasons. But let's wait for the publication of the results of the official investigations of the Kazakh authorities.

“Our embassy is operating as usual”

— You spoke about the possibility of a meeting of an expanded trio until the end of February in Kabul. Tell us what topics are on the agenda.

— Main theme— it is about inclusiveness. What we have just talked about will be discussed, but in more detailed and concrete terms. So far, we are being held back a little by coronavirus restrictions, but nevertheless, we are planning such a meeting in Kabul. In between, we will have the opportunity for other contacts in the run-up to this meeting.

— And what are the prospects for India and Iran to join this format?

— Iran has such an invitation, but refuses to accept it for the time being because it does not want to be in the same format with the United States. As for India, we are in favor, but, however, other partners, I will not specify, object, and in our country all decisions are made by consensus.

As part of the expanded “troika” Afghanistan includes Russia, the US, China and Pakistan. The Moscow format was created on the basis of the six-party consultation mechanism of the special representatives of Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India in 2017.

— Tell us about the situation with the work of the Russian embassy in Afghanistan.

— Our embassy is operating as usual— and, I must stress, works well. All colleagues are well aware of their responsibility, they were absolutely not at a loss in the new conditions, increased momentum, established permanent and reliable contacts both with local authorities, supporting them, and with other Afghans available to them. Therefore, we have no questions for our colleagues at the embassy.

— Do you see the need for new evacuation flights from Afghanistan? And is Russia planning such?

— No. We do not plan such flights yet. But this will depend on the situation and need. As far as the embassy informs us, there is no such need at the moment. We've removed enough of them, and that's enough for now.

— What kind of humanitarian aid is Russia providing to Afghanistan and when is a new delivery of humanitarian cargo scheduled?

— I won't repeat. You tracked, such assistance has already been provided. At the direction of the President of Russia, the sides of the Ministry of Defense, with the participation of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, nine aircraft were redeployed in less than two weeks. In parallel, our Chinese and Pakistani partners are providing the same assistance, the Indians have provided assistance— 50 thousand tons of wheat, which is still on the way. At the moment, the leadership of Russia has not set such a task for us. But we understand that this question will inevitably arise due to the circumstances with which we started our conversation.

— And a little personal question. You have been involved in Afghanistan for many years. Have you ever had a desire to try yourself in a different direction or head a Russian diplomatic mission abroad or even Afghanistan— is this your calling?

— I had such offers, but I still preferred to deal with Afghanistan. First, it was in demand, as my management considered. Secondly, this is interesting to me.

Zamir Kabulov (Photo: Ramil Sitdikov/RIA Novosti)

Zamir Kabulov was born in 1954, in 1977 he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then began working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.

  • In 1979–1983 he worked at the Consulate General, and then at the Embassy in Iran.
  • In 1983-1987 and from 1991 to 1992 he worked at the embassy in Afghanistan.
  • The period from 1993 to 1996 he spent in Pakistan as an adviser at the Russian embassy.
  • In 1996– In 1998, he was a political adviser to the UN Special Mission in Afghanistan.
  • From 2001 to 2004, he was Deputy Director of the Third Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry and simultaneously served as Executive Secretary of the Interdepartmental Commission on Afghanistan (from 2002 to 2003). He was the Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Afghanistan.
  • He headed the Russian Embassy in Afghanistan in 2004–2009.
  • Since 2009, he has been the Director of the Second Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
  • Since 2011— Special Representative of the President of Russia for Afghanistan.

Has a number of state awards, including the Order of Alexander Nevsky and the Order for Personal Courage.

Subscribe to RBC FB Get news faster than anyone


Kabulov described the situation in Afghanistan as “worse than in the UN report”

Presidential Envoy Kabulov: Situation in Afghanistan 'even worse than UN report' The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan could be even worse than UN reports on the famine in that country, warns Special Presidential Envoy Zamir Kabulov. According to him, there is not enough information about the country

“Bridgehead for new invasions”: the secret of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is named

Expert: Americans left a “clockwork mine” on Afghan soil

About six months have passed since the fall of Kabul under the onslaught of militants and the evacuation of the last American units from Afghan soil. But what is behind the US withdrawal from Afghanistan? And did they really just leave? President of the Russian section of the International Police Association, Lieutenant General, Doctor of Law, Professor, Honored Lawyer of Russia Yuri Zhdanov spoke about the possible interests of the CIA in Afghanistan.

Photo: AP.

“More like a time bomb. I must say right away that in fact the Americans were not going to leave anywhere. The fact that they were kicked out of Afghanistan is just a technical error for them. And they are already trying to fix it. Of course, not by force – a new military invasion is not yet in sight. And why? There are other benefits of being present, albeit indirect ones. It is known that according to the plans of the CIA and the State Department, Central Asia should become an intelligence base.

– Yes, the Americans themselves are trumpeting about it! Like, oh, how they successfully, on time and profitably left this wild country! True, they do not explain why they went into it for two decades. What did they do there and what did they do specifically? Killing and destruction don't count. But this is outside the brackets. And without brackets – there is an interesting report by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) “Working with Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban (the Taliban movement is recognized in the Russian Federation as a banned terrorist organization – MK”). Support for the Afghan people without legitimizing the regime.” It was published in January. It contains an attempt to form a generalized position of American decision-making centers about US plans for Afghanistan. By Lisa Curtis, Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, formerly of the CIA, State Department, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, etc.

– A concentrated analysis of the situation in a number of Central Asian countries and possible conclusions. This should help make some decisions that the US needs.

More specifically, it says, for example, about preventing a humanitarian catastrophe after the collapse of the Afghan economy. After all, the Americans, as stated, intend to cooperate with the Afghan people, but not with the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation). Like, they will somehow help.

In mid-November 2021, a UN official reported that 23 million Afghans were in desperate need of food and that 97 percent of the 38 million population was at risk of falling into poverty. The economic shock from the loss of international aid that supported 75 percent of the Afghan budget – along with several years of drought and other economic problems – threatens a complete economic collapse that will leave millions of people starving, especially in winter. The International Monetary Fund has warned that the country's economy will shrink by about 30 percent in 2022.

As of mid-January 2022, the United States has provided $782 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees, more than any other country.

– Yes, the Taliban (“Taliban” is a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation) sent a letter to the US Congress asking the United States to release the declared $ 7 billion in Afghan foreign exchange reserves, which were frozen after the Taliban seized power, otherwise they risk facing a mass exodus of refugees from the country. In the letter, the Taliban government's foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaki, says the holding of assets has disrupted trade and business, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population.

– Most likely. Jesuitically, the report said that the country was facing an economic crisis before the assets were frozen, and that Washington had made it clear that non-humanitarian aid would be cut off if the Taliban seized power by force rather than through peace talks. And so it happened.

By the way, the recent meeting in Moscow of several regional states did not lead to the adoption of any serious commitments to provide assistance. The countries issued a communiqué calling for an international donors conference under the auspices of the UN, so that “the military forces that have been in the country for the past 20 years” – that is, the United States, take on most of the financial burden.

– They are very concerned. Initial signs that the Taliban could improve their record of women's rights have not materialized. Ten days after coming to power, the Taliban ordered women to stay at home until ordinary members of the organization were instructed on how to properly treat women. Young women who organized and participated in local protests against Taliban rule were abducted and killed in Mazar-i-Sharif.

The US report notes that the Taliban backtracked on initial promises to respect women's rights in order to maintain cohesion among their fighters. Otherwise, the rank-and-file members of the militant structures would doubt the leadership of their leaders and would ask what they have been fighting for for 20 years. The Taliban also failed to deliver on their initial promises of amnesty for former government officials. At the end of August 2021, the BBC reported that they had executed two high-ranking police officers. According to the report, more than 100 people have been killed since August 15, two-thirds of them by the Taliban and their supporters.

The document also contains information about extrajudicial executions of at least 50 people suspected of belonging to terrorist group “Islamic State” banned in Russia.

– Yes, and the so-called Haqqani network, which is closely connected both with Al-Qaeda (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation) and with the Pakistani military and intelligence services, plays a particularly significant role. Najibullah Haqqani is Minister of Communications and Abdul Baqi Haqqani is Minister of Higher Education, which is a bad sign for future educational opportunities for women and girls. Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, who was originally appointed to lead security operations in Kabul shortly after the Taliban came to power, is now the refugee minister. This is particularly worrisome given fears that foreign terrorist fighters will now flock to Afghanistan as their fellow radicals are in power there. Another character, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of an organization designated as terrorist by the United States, has been appointed Minister of the Interior. The FBI has released a Rewards for Justice program that is offering $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani due to his role in terrorist attacks against American citizens.

In general, twenty out of thirty-three high-ranking officials are on the UN sanctions list. Among them is the head of the current interim government, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who was foreign minister and then deputy prime minister when the Taliban were in power in the late 1990s. After the organization was ousted from power in 2001, Akhund led the Taliban's military operations in Afghanistan from his hideout in Pakistan. The list goes on.

– Hardly, although such proposals are heard, including from Pakistan.

While the Taliban's efforts to eliminate the ISIS-Khorasan threat are welcome, the Taliban's continued ties to al-Qaeda and dozens of other terrorist groups mean that the Taliban's consolidation of power in Afghanistan over will continue to help revive the terrorist haven, even if ISIS-X is no longer part of the terrorist alliance.

President Biden is right that al-Qaeda has metastasized over the past decade. However, the current situation in Afghanistan gives the terrorist group a unique advantage: Afghanistan is now ruled by an Islamist group with which al-Qaeda has been associated for 30 years. The two groups also became closely related through intermarriage. No other country in the world offers al-Qaeda such a luxury.

“In the past, the US has relied on Pakistan for air and ground access to Afghanistan and for drone attacks. Pakistan allowed this activity, although Washington and Islamabad had fundamentally different goals in Afghanistan. However, while an air access agreement with Pakistan would be necessary, Washington should not fall into the familiar trap of viewing the country as a partner in counterterrorism or a shared US goal in Afghanistan.

Pakistan narrowly assesses its strategic interests in Afghanistan, viewing them mainly through the prism of India. The main goal of Islamabad is to prevent India from gaining a foothold in the country as a strategic foothold. The best example of the irreconcilable goals of Islamabad and Washington in Afghanistan is Pakistan's support for the Haqqani network and the desire to see members of the Haqqani clan in leadership positions in the Taliban government. Islamabad trusts the Haqqanis to support their goal of preventing India from gaining influence in Afghanistan.

– Russia, Iran and China share US concerns about ISIS-X, but each of these countries’ broader geopolitical differences with the United States will likely prevent serious counterterrorism cooperation with Washington.

In November In 2021, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West took part in a meeting in Islamabad of the so-called “Troika Plus”, which includes the United States, Pakistan, Russia and China. These meetings may be useful in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, but they are unlikely to bring about positive changes in the Taliban's behavior towards human rights and the fight against terrorism.

The US report argues that there is room for increased US counterterrorism cooperation with Central Asian countries, especially Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, so that Washington can reduce dependence on Pakistan. While Russia and China will object to the United States establishing large military bases in their “backyard”, it is possible that Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will agree to increased intelligence sharing or the deployment of small groups of US special operations forces on their territory.

Let me remind you that both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have contributed to the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and are ready to play a more important role in this area.

While China has gloated over the withdrawal and hasty evacuation of the United States from the country, Beijing is concerned that Afghanistan is once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists around the world, as well as the possibility of Islamist extremism spreading to China's Muslim-populated western provinces. Beijing has historically been concerned about anti-Chinese Islamist militants, primarily ethnic Uyghurs who have trained alongside the Taliban and have taken refuge in both Afghanistan and the tribal areas bordering Pakistan in the past.

China has a long-term interest in making Afghanistan a key hub for its One Belt, One Road economic project and in developing and exploiting Afghanistan's rich mineral resources. However, a Chinese consortium's $3 billion investment in Afghanistan's Mes Ainak copper mine has been dormant for more than a decade, and China will avoid future investment until the security situation stabilizes.

In September 2021, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid called China Afghanistan's most important partner given its willingness to invest in and rebuild the country. So far, however, China has been reluctant to assume financial obligations to the Taliban government, which is not recognized by the rest of the world.

– Almost the same. India's biggest concern is that a Taliban victory will inspire anti-India militants, now mostly based in Pakistan. These groups are responsible for attacks on Indian soil in recent years that have increased tensions with Pakistan and led to military crises between the two nuclear powers.

The most recent military crisis between India and Pakistan occurred after the February 14, 2019 terrorist attack by an Islamist militant that killed 40 Indian soldiers in Indian-controlled Kashmir. India has also experienced major terrorist attacks on its embassy and consulates in Afghanistan by the Haqqani network.

India held a meeting of regional national security advisers in New Delhi in early November 2021. Pakistan and China, who do not welcome a more prominent Indian role in Afghanistan, missed the meeting.

– According to the author of the report, in order to cope with the threat of terrorism, the United States should invest in improving the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles for foreign CTOs.

The US military should be ready for the foreseeable future to conduct drone operations from bases in the Middle East , because Pakistan and the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan fear that the US will carry out deadly operations from their territory.

It is recommended to expand cooperation on CTO with the states of Central Asia, especially with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

There are opportunities, the author believes, to expand the exchange of intelligence data, conduct counterintelligence trainings and other joint counterintelligence activities with the states of Central Asia. In the long term, it is possible that the Central Asian states may allow the United States to deploy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets on their territory, or even allow limited CTOs to be carried out by special operations forces from the region.

The reporter regrets that the leadership of the military and intelligence in some Central Asian countries tend to be skeptical of the Taliban due to concerns about the group's continued ties to terrorism.

If the Central Asian states become more open to U.S. counterterrorism activities deployed from their territory, Americans should be prepared to distribute counterterrorism assets across the region that could act in concert to address threats while reducing dependence on a single base option.

The author of the report, an experienced CIA and State Department official, applied an interesting term – “to carry out their deeds action with eyes wide open. And he directly formulated the main goal – to turn Central Asia into a giant US intelligence base. And in aggregate – a springboard for new invasions.


Taliban-style inclusiveness: the first female leaders under the new government appeared in Afghanistan

Amusement parks will no longer have firearms

The Taliban (a terrorist group banned in Russia) who seized power in Afghanistan last summer continue to fight for international recognition as the leading force in the state. According to the Taliban, they have already made several important appointments in line with the expectations of the world community, and continue their course to reduce tensions in the unstable republic.

Photo: AP

The issue of gender equality in Afghanistan has always, even in the most peaceful times for the country, been relevant to one degree or another, but with the advent of the Taliban to power, it has become especially acute. The capture of Afghan cities by the Taliban was accompanied by numerous reports of violence against the female part of the population (including young girls), the flourishing of sexual slavery, etc.

Representatives of the movement denied the accusations, human rights activists sounded the alarm, and Western officials said that the Taliban were must prove, not in words, but in deeds, that he is ready to give up his radical attitudes.

The first steps were taken already in 2021: women were allowed to work and study subject to mandatory clothing requirements, and even play sports, though , with an essential caveat — we are talking only about those competitions in which bare parts of the body are not visible.

Hope for a genuine “reformatting” Taliban ideology was also given the promise of the movement to form an inclusive government, with the involvement of the fairer sex. However, it hung in the air for a long time. In mid-January, the Taliban declared that he was fulfilling the requirements of the international community, which allegedly gives him the right to official recognition. However, judging by the reaction of external players, this was not enough. At the end of last month, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking to the organization's Security Council, announced the killings of more than a hundred officials and security officials loyal to the former Afghan authorities by the Taliban. The movement had to again refute these words and come up with new moves for its legitimation.

First, the Taliban leadership announced a complete ban on carrying firearms in amusement parks. As you know, the Mujahideen rarely appear without machine guns, which, to put it mildly, does not give confidence either to the population of the country or to those who observe Afghan life on the footage of news agencies. Last year, footage of the Taliban getting on the rides spread around the world: stern-looking armed men on playgrounds at least caused alarm.

“It is forbidden to enter amusement parks with weapons, in military uniform” vehicles. The Mujahideen are obliged to comply with all the rules and regulations of amusement parks, — noted in this regard the official speaker of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid.

The next step of the Taliban leadership turned out to be even more resonant. It became known that the movement nevertheless decided to implement the principle of gender inclusiveness in leadership positions. So, responsible posts were given to two women at once. However, we are still not talking about positions in the interim government or, for example, in parliament.

“Dr. Malalai Rakhim has been appointed director of the specialized maternity hospital” Malalai ” — the only obstetric and gynecological institution of its kind in the whole country. <…> Dr. Aryan was appointed director of the (gynecological) clinic in Shahrar (one of the districts of Kabul. — "MK")», — Mujahid reported.

Both medical facilities are located in the Afghan capital, so the number of patients there is the highest: women come from all over the country, as qualified specialists are sometimes simply impossible to find in a number of provinces. This leads to the fact that the problem of mortality during childbirth, despite a steady decline in indicators (according to the UN, in 20 years the number of deaths has been more than halved), remains one of the main problems for Afghanistan. Of the one hundred thousand children who are born in the country, about six hundred — they die as soon as they are born.

Although doctors Rakhim and Arina have received leadership positions only in the capital's medical institutions, this is a serious step forward from the Taliban, who did not allow women to such posts. The question is whether the slow, but “desocratization” will not turn out to be Taliban bluff.

Simultaneously with the announcement of new appointments, Zabiullah Mujahid promised progress in another area. According to him, the interim government intends to revive the activities of a special commission investigating violations in the media. Afghanistan traditionally ranks at the bottom of press freedom ratings, which worries human rights activists no less than the lack of gender equality. Moreover, according to Reporters Without Borders, in connection with the mass closure of a number of Afghan media, it was women who suffered the most, accounting for about 80% of all those who lost their jobs in this area. Against this background, the statement about the resuscitation of the special commission really sounds promising.

All this, however, does not promise immediate recognition of the Taliban government by the world. Russia and the collective West are now too busy solving the Ukrainian problem, and the steps of the Taliban, despite the obvious media effect, are still rather demonstrative in nature, and do not indicate fundamental systemic changes.