He told Sputnik that Afghanistan’s northern provinces are swiftly turning into a new hotspot amid the hasty pullout of US troops, with international terrorist organizations gaining a foothold in the area.
“The consequences of the US and some NATO countries’ troops hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan are becoming obvious: once relatively calm northern provinces are rapidly turning into another hotspot. The Taliban almost completely control the border with Tajikistan. Numerous international terrorist organizations, such as Daesh and al-Qaeda branches are gaining a foothold,” Rudenko said.
In addition, foreign militants from combat zones in the Middle East and North Africa are being pulled into Afghanistan, the Russian diplomat added.
“People from Central Asia are being actively recruited into the ranks of such organizations. Drug production has reached record highs,” Rudenko went on to say.
The degradation of the security situation in Afghanistan poses a direct threat to Central Asia, the official stressed.
“We share the corresponding concerns of our neighbors in the region. The importance of maintaining a coordinated effort to minimize the negative impact of these risks on our countries’ security was emphasized during the fourth meeting of the heads of Russia’s and Central Asian nations’ foreign ministers in Tashkent on 16 July and in the adopted joint statement,” Rudenko said.
He assured that Russia will take measures to prevent possible aggression against Tajikistan, if need be, and that Moscow will continue supporting Tajikistan in boosting its defensive capacity.
“If necessary, the Russian Federation will take all measures to prevent aggression or territorial provocations in line with the spirit of the Russian-Tajik strategic partnership and alliance,” Rudenko stated.
Separately, Rudenko stressed that Russia maintains constant contact with Uzbekistan amid the developments in Afghanistan and is ready to provide assistance to Tashkent if there is a relevant request.
“Of course, we are concerned about the exacerbation of the intra-Afghan conflict and its negative impact on the neighboring states in Central Asia, therefore, we are in constant contact with our Uzbek colleagues. Uzbekistan is our ally and strategic partner, which has a common border with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We are ready to provide additional help to our friends if such a need arises and if there is an appropriate appeal from the Uzbek leadership.”