Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said militant militants from Iraq and Syria were “actively” entering Afghanistan.
“The situation in Afghanistan is not easy,” Putin said during a video conference with former Soviet security chiefs.
“Terrorists with experience in military operations from Iraq and Syria are actively attracted there,” he said.
“Terrorists may try to destabilize the situation in neighboring states,” he added, warning that they could even try “direct expansion”.
Putin has repeatedly warned that members of extremist groups are taking advantage of the political turmoil in Afghanistan to flee to neighboring former Soviet countries.
While Moscow is cautiously optimistic about the new Taliban leadership in Kabul, the Kremlin is concerned about the instability of having military bases in Central Asia.
Following the Taliban’s occupation, Russia conducted military exercises with former Soviet Tajikistan — where it operates a military base — and in Uzbekistan. Both countries share a border with Afghanistan.
Tajikistan’s national security chief Simimin Yadimov said during a video conference that he had “recorded the” intensity “of efforts to smuggle” drugs, weapons and ammunition “from Afghanistan to his country.
Afghanistan has long been the world’s largest producer of opium and heroin, profiting from the illicit trade with the Taliban.
Earlier on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a reception for Tajik leader Emomali Rakhmon in Paris, promising to help the Central Asian government maintain stability.
While the Taliban say it is not a threat to Central Asian countries, the former Soviet republics in the region have been targeted by attacks by allied Islamist Islamists.
Last week, the Kremlin’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Jameer Kapulov, said Russia would invite the Taliban to Moscow for international talks on Afghanistan on October 20.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from an integrated feed.)