Russia’s recent involvement in an anti-drug operation in Afghanistan indicates that the exigencies of the present crisis outweigh the burdens of past actions for Moscow. While Russian leaders appear ready to take Kabul’s feelings into account, the Kremlin is no longer willing to let its past sins keep Russia on the sidelines in Afghanistan.
The participation of Russian forces in the October 28 raid on a drug lab in Nangarhar Province touched a raw nerve among Afghans, even though US and Afghan troops also participated. Shortly after the raid became public, President Hamid Karzai sharply criticized Russian involvement, describing it as a “blatant violation of Afghanistan's sovereignty." Observers saw Karzai’s reaction as politically expedient, given the fact that the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in late 1979 started the vicious cycle of civil strife that continues to spin. For Karzai, the reappearance of Russian forces on Afghan soil is fraught with political peril.
To read the full story
Aunohita Mojumdar is an Indian freelance journalist based in Kabul. She has reported on the South Asian region for the past 19 years.