Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow conveyed the message to Washington during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s summit with US President Joe Biden in Geneva last month.
The warning comes as the US military said last week that 90% of the withdrawal of US troops and equipment from Afghanistan is complete. Biden said the US military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on Aug. 31.
“I would emphasize that the redeployment of the American permanent military presence to the countries neighboring Afghanistan is unacceptable,” Ryabkov said. “We told the Americans in a direct and straightforward way that it would change a lot of things not only in our perceptions of what’s going on in that important region, but also in our relations with the United States.”
He added that Russia has also issued the warning to Central Asian nations.
“We cautioned them against such steps, and we also have had a frank talk on the subject with our Central Asian allies, neighbors and friends and also other countries in the region that would be directly affected,” Ryabkov said in an interview published in the Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn magazine.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are all members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and any presence of foreign troops on their territories must be endorsed by the security pact. He added that none of those countries have raised the issue.
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan both host Russian military bases. Kyrgyzstan, which hosted a U.S. military base that supported operations in Afghanistan, closed it in 2014.
Uzbekistan, which also hosted a U.S. base, ordered it shut in 2005 amid tensions with Washington. Uzbekistan’s Defense Ministry reaffirmed in May that the country’s constitution and its military doctrine rule out the presence of any foreign troops on its territory.
“I don’t think that the emergence of new American military facilities in Central Asia would promote security in the region,” Lavrov said.
The Biden administration has reportedly considered Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that border Afghanistan, as well as Kazakhstan, as possible staging areas for monitoring and quickly responding to possible security problems that may follow the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“I don’t think that anyone is interested in becoming a hostage to such US policy and intentions, and in inviting retaliation,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister questioned what results would be achieved with a small U.S. presence outside Afghanistan when a 100,000-strong NATO force inside the country “failed to do anything.”
“Most probably, they simply want to ensure their military presence in Central Asia and be able to influence the situation in this region.”
As the American and NATO troops were swiftly pulling out, the Taliban have made quick gains across the country. They claimed on Friday that they now control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory.
Russian officials have expressed concern that the Taliban surge could destabilize Central Asia.
Taliban advances already have forced hundreds of Afghan soldiers to flee across the border into Tajikistan which called up 20,000 military reservists to strengthen its southern border with Afghanistan.
Last week, a senior Taliban delegation visited Moscow to offer assurances that the insurgents’ advances in Afghanistan do not threaten Russia or its allies in Central Asia.
COVID-19 kills another 78 as Pakistan continues battle against fourth wave
Islamabad: Pakistan is witnessing daily surge in COVID-19 cases with authorities linking the upswing to the deadly fourth wave. Today country’s positivity rate is on 5.44%.
As per National Command and Control Center (NCOC), around 2,580 cases of coronavirus were reported while 78 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 26,865.
Pakistan conducted a total of 47,419 tests in the last 24 hours.
As per the NCOC, total confirmed cases are 1,210,082 whereas 5,304 are under critical care.
The number of patients swelled to 415,654 in the province with 12,259 causalities.
The number of infections has surged to 446,045 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,177.
The confirmed cases have surged to 169,040 in the province with 5,290 casualties.
There are 32,618 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.
AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan
There are 33,432 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 724. On the other hand, there are 10,168 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.
There are 103,125 cases in the capital city while 889 people have lost their lives.
With 73 new fatalities, Pakistan's COVID-19 death count nears 27,000
Islamabad: Pakistan is witnessing daily surge in COVID-19 cases with authorities linking the upswing to the deadly fourth wave. Today country’s positivity rate is on 4.78%.
As per National Command and Control Center (NCOC), around 2,714 cases of coronavirus were reported while 73 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 26,938.
Pakistan conducted a total of 56,733 tests in the last 24 hours.
As per the NCOC, total confirmed cases are 1,212,809 whereas 5,122 are under critical care.
The number of patients swelled to 416,901 in the province with 12,291 causalities.
The number of infections has surged to 446,840 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,192.
The confirmed cases have surged to 169,429 in the province with 5,310 casualties.
There are 32,658 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.
AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan
There are 33,490 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 727. On the other hand, there are 10,198 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.
There are 103,293 cases in the capital city while 892 people have lost their lives.
North Macedonia: Massive fire engulfs COVID hospital, kills ten patients
Skopje: At least 10 people were killed and many more injured after a massive fire broke at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in Tetovo, North Macedonia.
The huge blaze erupted Wednesday night—claiming lives of ten. Fire services and rescue teams rushed to the scene and fought to douse the flames for a couple of hours.
It’s not yet clear how the large blaze started or how many patients were inside.
While the cause has yet to be established, the country's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev posted on social media that the fire had followed an on-site explosion.
Огромна трагедија се случи во тетовскиот КОВИД-19 центар. Експлозија предизвикала пожар. Пожарот е изгаснат, но згаснаа и многу животи.— Зоран Заев (@Zoran_Zaev) September 8, 2021
Изразувам најдлабоко сочувство до семејствата и блиските на починатите и посакувам брзо закрепнување на повредените.https://t.co/55sVhZEyXO
Footage shared on social media showed a building in flames and a thick cloud of black smoke billowing into the air near a main road in the city of Tetovo.
JUST IN - At least 15 people killed and dozens injured after a fire broke at a Covid hospital in North Macedoniapic.twitter.com/FC9lbBoDJJ— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) September 8, 2021
The facility was reportedly built last year to help care for COVID-19 patients.
Tetovo deputy fire Chief, Saso Trajcevski said, "The fire was huge because the hospital is modular, there was plastic".
The fire occurred as the former Yugoslav republic celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence, with festivities in the capital Skopje, including a military parade.
However, investigators have gone to the scene to determine the cause of Yesterday’s fire.
Meanwhile, North Macedonia has been battling a surge in COVID-19 cases recently with 701 new cases and 24 deaths in the past 24 hours.
It has recorded more than 6,100 fatalities in total since the start of the COVID outbreak.
Macedonia government had to impose stricter measures, in a bid to prevent the spread of virus.
North Macedonia has a population of around 2 million and its healthcare services are run down as hospitals are overwhelmed in some areas, particularly where vaccination rates are low.
Covid-19 hospitals in other countries have been hit by explosions followed by fires. In Iraq, dozens of people were killed in fires that occurred after oxygen cylinders exploded in April and July.
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