Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Joe Biden was correct in withdrawing American soldiers from Afghanistan, but he criticized the "mess" that was left behind. Following the Taliban's takeover of power and the expulsion of most Western diplomats from Kabul, Moscow has been attempting to strengthen its influence in Afghanistan.
A Taliban group met in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the country's future as part of the so-called Moscow format, which includes India, Iran, China, and Pakistan.
Russia praises US pullout in Afghanistan
Putin praised Biden's decision on the contentious US pullout during a question-and-answer session after his address at the Valdai Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Putin said Biden "probably understood" that he would face domestic criticism for the decision, even if he didn't know in detail, but he went for it, accepted it, and took on this duty.
"Those nations that fought there for 20 years, bear the greatest responsibility for the current catastrophe in Afghanistan," Putin added, Newsweek reported. Although the Taliban is considered a "terrorist" organization in Russia, Putin has previously stated that the group should be tolerated on the international scene to boost the country's development.
Although analysts say Moscow has no imminent intentions to provide diplomatic recognition to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Russia regards the Taliban as critical in the war against Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K).
Putin said on Thursday that Russia will remove them off the list of terrorist groups. "Russia's position will be to take steps in this direction."
Per RT, the Russian president said it "could have been done differently" and that the US' "credibility" has been harmed as a result of the hasty withdrawal.
Putin also stated that Russia is getting closer to removing the Taliban off its list of terrorist groups, but that the UN Security Council should do it first. In 2003, the Taliban was declared a terror group by a Russian court.
Russian officials had just visited members of the Taliban hierarchy in Moscow the day before, on Thursday. Following the meeting, Abdul Salam Hanafi, Kabul's acting deputy prime minister, asked for "international recognition of Afghanistan's existing administration."
Putin says Russia approach would have been different from US'
The situation in Afghanistan intensified in May 2021, following the commencement of the US army departure from the nation, which had been in place since 2001. The Taliban started on August 15, less than a month before America's deadline to withdraw, that they had taken control of the country.
Though Putin appears to support Biden's decision to remove all US troops from Afghanistan, the president has been chastised in Washington by both Democrats and Republicans for his management of the withdrawal. For the first time since 2001, the Taliban reclaimed control in Afghanistan as a result of the withdrawal.
Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the nation via the Kabul airport in the weeks following the Taliban takeover, under extremely chaotic conditions.
ISIS-K mounted an attack during the evacuations, killing 13 US service members and 169 Afghans. The US responded with drone attacks, but one of them mistakenly attacked an aid worker, killing ten people, including seven children. A number of Americans and hundreds of Afghan friends were left behind after the last US forces left Afghanistan in late August, but some have since been evacuated.
According to Brown University's Costs of War project, the US war in Afghanistan, which lasted 20 years and was the longest conflict in US history, resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Afghans - including over 47,000 civilians - and 2,448 US military men. It is also thought to have cost around $2.3 trillion.
Putin said last month that the US achieved "zero" in Afghanistan and that the fight had resulted in "only tragedies," as per Business Insider.