Putin: victory to NATO in Afghanistan!

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 1 called upon NATO to remain in Afghanistan until it has prevailed over the jihadist insurgency. “It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of there,” Putin said at a meeting with paratroopers in Ulyanovsk. “They took up this burden and should carry it to the end.. If there is no order in Afghanistan, it will not be calm on our southern borders. The current [Afghan] leadership will have difficulties keeping the situation under control. NATO member states are present there, and are performing this function. We need to help them [NATO]. We should not be fighting there again. Let them sit there and fight.”

Putin spoke just as a new deal took effect opening Russia‘s territory to transit lines in support of the NATO operation, with a hub for “non-lethal” supplies established at Ulyanovsk, on the Volga River. “It corresponds to our national interests,” Putin said of the deal. “On many other issues we have disagreements.” Putin reiterating his description of NATO as a “throwback to the past, to the times of the Cold War.” (Dawn, Pakistan, Aug. 2; Reuters via Moscow TimesForeign Policy, Aug. 1)

See our last post on the Great Game for Central Asia.

  1. Ramadan terror in Afghanistan
    At least three suicide bombers struck a crowded bazaar Aug. 14 in  Zaranj, capital of southwestern Nimruz province—and then at the gates of the hospital where victims were rushed for treatment. At least 29 were killed and  more than 100  injured.

    A short time later in Dasht-e Archi district in northern Kunduz province, a bomb attached to a motorcycle killed 10 and wounded more than two dozen others.

    Both bombings came as people were flocking to shops for Eid, the holiday beginning this weekend that will mark the end of Ramadan. (LAT, BBC News, Aug. 14)

  2. Eid terror in Afghanistan
    A blast in a crowded marketplace killed four and injured several more Aug. 18, going off as residents in Shindand district of Herat province had flooded the local bazaar to buy food and other supplies for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan.

    A suicide attack in Ghormach district of northern Faryab province killed five—three civilians, a police official, and the bomber. (RFE/RL, Aug. 18)

    A NATO airstrike that day killed more than 20 presumed Taliban insurgents after they had reportedly gathered to oversee a public execution in Chapa Dara district of Kunar province, near the border with Pakistan. The Taliban said only 13 were killed. Iran’s Press TV seems to be alone in citing unnamed witnesses as claiming non-combatats were among the dead. (Press TV, BBC World Service, Aug. 19; NYT, Aug. 18)

    At least nine worshippers were wounded when grenades exploded during morning prayers at a mosque in Baghi Sara, Khost province, Aug. 15. One exploded inside the mosque and the other went off in a courtyard outside. The third failed to detonate. That same day, at least 14 people, including four women and a police officer, were injured when explosives set up on a bicycle exploded at a market in the city of Herat while people were shopping for the upcoming Muslim holiday. (AP, Aug. 15)