On Monday, the US Department of Defence confirmed that America’s 20-year presence in Afghanistan had come to a close, when the final Boeing C-17 Globemaster departed from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport around 3:29 p.m. Eastern Time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the 20-year US presence in Afghanistan only resulted in tragedies.
“For twenty years, American troops had been on this [Afghan] territory and for twenty years they tried – one can say this without offending anyone – to civilise the people who live there, to introduce their norms and standards of life in the broadest sense of the word, including the political organisation of society“, Putin said at a meeting with students from the school of the All-Russian Children’s Centre “Ocean” in Vladivostok on Wednesday.
The Russian president added that “tragedies and losses […] pertaining to the US and especially those who live in Afghanistan” were the only results of this nearly 20-year presence.
“The result was zero, if not to say that everything turned negative”, Putin noted.
According to him, “if someone does something in relation to others, they should proceed from the history, culture, and philosophy of life of these people in the broadest sense, as well as respect for their traditions”.
The Russian president stressed that “it is impossible to impose anything from the outside”, adding, “the situation needs to mature, and if someone wants it to mature faster and better – then you need to help people”.
Putin explained that such assistance should be rendered “in a civilised manner, carefully and slowly”.
He concluded by emphasising that “without taking all these factors into account, including historical ones, it is almost impossible to achieve anything positive”.
The remarks follow the Pentagon officially announcing the end of the American military mission in Afghanistan on Monday, as the last plane carrying US forces left Kabul Airport, giving the Taliban* full control.
The Taliban, in turn, declared Afghanistan a “free and sovereign” nation, describing the completion of the US troop exit as a “historic moment”.
On 15 August, Taliban fighters entered Kabul without a fight before declaring “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” amid the fall of the Afghan government and President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country for the United Arab Emirates.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.