Russia draws a red line for US in Central Asia,

M K Bhadrakumar, former Indian diplomat

Moscow has categorically stated that it will not accept a US military presence in the Central Asian region. This reiteration has come at the level of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who told TASS that Afghanistan had been discussed at a meeting with Victoria Nuland, the visiting US Undersecretary of State, in Moscow on Tuesday.

Ryabkov added: “We emphasized the unacceptability of a US military presence in Central Asian countries in any form whatever.”

Prima facie, Ryabkov has squashed the disinformation media campaign by Washington that at the Russia-US summit in Geneva in June, President Vladimir Putin had offered to President Joe Biden that the Pentagon could use Russian bases in the Central Asian region for conducting future (“out-of-the-horizon”) operations in Afghanistan. […]

Washington’s ploy appeared to have been to create misconceptions among the Central Asian states regarding Russia’s intentions. To be sure, just before the Helsinki meeting of the two generals, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also took a meeting of the so-called C5+1 Ministerial on September 22 to discuss “coordination on Afghanistan” with his Central Asian counterparts. […]

Conceivably, Ryabkov voiced a consensus opinion among regional states, including China and Iran.

From such a perspective, a regional consensus is steadily evolving in regard to the Afghan situation. Tehran disclosed this week that it will soon be hosting the second foreign-minister-level meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbors and has sought an enlargement of the format as a special case to include Russia as well.

That is to say, the format will now comprise Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China and Russia. (India stands excluded.)  Läs artikel