Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed President Joe Biden to use Russian military bases in Central Asia.
Moscow was so concerned about Taliban fighters advancing that it was prepared to open its doors to American troops back in June.
The Kommersant newspaper revealed the Kremlin made the unusual offer after U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. Russia is concerned the move will push refugees its Central Asian backyard, and destabilize the country’s southern defensive flank.
On July 14, Taliban fighters seized control of a major border crossing with Pakistan. This was one of the most significant feats of their rapid advance across the country while U.S. forces progressively withdrew.
“After two decades of the brutality of Americans and their puppets, this gate and the Spin Boldak district were captured by the Taliban,” a fighter said in a video obtained by Reuters. “The strong resistance of the Mujahideen and its people forced the enemy to leave this area. As you can see, that is the Islamic Emirate flag, the flag that thousands of Mujahideen shed their blood to raise.”
Afghan officials later confirmed government forces had pushed the Taliban back and finally regained control of the district. However, the Taliban still controlled the crossing at the time of publication according to locals and Pakistani officials.
President Putin reportedly wanted the United States to cooperate on Afghanistan, and put Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to “practical use” during his June 16 meeting with Biden in Geneva, Switzerland.
The paper revealed this could involve exchanging drone data but the Democrat gave no definite response to date. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to media requests for comment.
Reuters previously reported the Biden administration held talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Topics included temporarily relocating hundreds of Afghans who worked with U.S. soldiers but now face Taliban threats, according to three officials familiar with the situation.
“One of the reasons that I am not going to get into security details about what third country they might go to, and how many, is exactly for that reason,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “Certainly our timeline is to relocate these individuals to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown.”
President Biden promises he will not forget those who helped the United States. Preparations are underway to evacuate up to 50,000 at-risk Afghans and their family members.
The United States’s and North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has made the political and military situation in Afghanistan less predictable. This has also intensified the terrorist danger in the region according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov said Russia hopes to help jumpstart peace talks between warring groups in Afghanistan at an upcoming conference with prominent Central Asian leaders in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.