Politics

5 Messages of the Russian Government and Pro-Kremlin Actors Regarding the U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

21 September, 2021

On August 30th, 2021, the U.S. has finished withdrawing its military forces from Afghanistan. The process itself started after reaching the agreement with the Taliban during Trump’s presidency in Doha. During the process, the Taliban accelerated the military campaign and seized control of the majority of the Afghan territories, including the capital city Kabul. Until late August, a part of the U.S. troops remained in the Kabul airport, aiding the evacuation process of the foreign nationals and political asylum seekers.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the establishment of control of the country by the Taliban has provoked widespread reactions worldwide, including in Russia and Georgia. Interestingly, the related messages of the Russian authorities and the Kremlin media often coincided with the messages of the pro-Russian and anti-liberal forces operating in Georgia. In this regard, one can single out 5 main messages:

 

  • The West is weakened;
  • The U.S. is not a reliable partner; therefore, it will abandon Georgia the same way it abandoned Afghanistan;
  • The U.S. did not achieve anything in Afghanistan;
  •  Afghan refugees pose a threat since there might be terrorists among them;
  • The U.S. has strengthened the Taliban with weapons.

 

The messages were authored by:

 

  • Representatives of the Russian Government: President Vladimir Putin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, Speaker of the Russian MFA, Maria Zakharova. M.P. Sergey Gavrilov.
  •  Russian Pro-Kremlin Media: РИА Новости, Sputnik
  • Pro-Kremlin political parties: ERI (Levan Vasadze), The Alliance of Patriots (Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Giorgi Lomia, Nana Devdariani).
  •  Media affiliated with pro-Kremlin parties: Alt-Info, Obieqtivi.
  •   Other

Message

Pro-Kremlin, Anti-Western Actors

Kremlin and Russian Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

The West has weakened

Shota Martinenko, Host at Alt-Info: “Afghanistan’s importance to the United States was far greater than that of Georgia, and how many resources were spent there ... And how did the situation shape up Afghanistan, how weak is the American influence and capabilities, how did the American rule and reins end, and nothing else will happen in Georgia, there is no chance in Georgia.”

Giorgi Kardava, host at Alt-Info: “Why is the West leaving Afghanistan, why is the West leaving Iraq? Why are they leaving our region? For the simple trivial reason why empires have always left peripheries. It doesn’t have enough power; it has weakened.”


Giorgi Kardava, Host at Alt-Info: “Strength will be needed, Kelly Degnans will be defeated and have already been defeated in Afghanistan by the forces that, compared to the U.S., are technologically in the 50s of the last century... So these liberal ideas, these infantile ideas that we may be morally, ideologically backwards, but we are backed by “high tech”, and there we will use buttons to defeat these backward dark masses who still exist with some ideas and are part of a retrograde civilization, have been destroyed.”
 
Nana Devdariani, Alliance of Patriots: “... Look at the example of Afghanistan alone! It is no longer working anywhere in the world, and it will not work here either! Georgians are very wise people!”

Dmitry Kosirev, author at РИА Новости: “It has been said a thousand times that the failure in Afghanistan means the death of NATO, temporarily or permanently. But the endless cries of Americans and Europeans on this issue creates even more radical thoughts: We are witnessing the downfall of the West.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. is not a reliable partner; therefore, it will abandon Georgia the same way it abandoned Afghanistan

Shota Martinenko, Host at Alt-Info: “To what extent will America be able to protect our security? Ukraine is now being abandoned, thrown away and left vulnerable? Does something similar await us? Is it something similar to when the Kurds depended on the Americans and then found themselves abandoned in the face of bloodthirsty forces? “Is it going to be something similar to what is happening now in Afghanistan?

Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Alliance of Patriots: “Clearly, neutrality has become even more valuable. The fact that there should not be NATO or other bases in our country, that there should be no foreign military presence in our country, that there should be no NATO exercises of NATO held in our country is twice as valuable today. NATO will abandon us the same way they abandoned the Afghans. Neutrality is the only mechanism at this point that can save us and end all animosity between us and Russia.”

Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Alliance of Patriots: “I think the events of Afghanistan are a clear example for everyone. Everyone should understand that just as Afghanistan was a pawn for America in its political games, so are we, and we should not be doing this to ourselves.”

Giorgi Lomia, Alliance of Patriots: “What does it mean that [America] is leaving us, are we not abandoned already?”

Ilia Chachibaia, host at Obieqtivi: “America, as a strategic partner, which for 20 years has been convincing Afghanistan that they were friends and partners, has abandoned and sacrificed it in one fell swoop. Should this example be significant for Georgia?”

Dimitri Lortkipanidze, Primakov Georgian-Russian Community Center: “What is happening now in Afghanistan is another clear example of what a strategic partnership and alliance mean to the Americans.”

Hamlet Chipashvili, political scientist: “Like the Ukrainian authorities, we still believe in a so-called strategic partnership with the U.S.; Again, we are confident that the U.S. will never betray us. We do not even think that if it betrayed Afghanistan, where he invested trillions of dollars and sacrificed the lives of its own citizens, what would it do to us?”


Hamlet Chipashvili, political scientist: “The whole world has witnessed that the U.S. is a country that can betray any country at any time, including a strategic partner, throw it away like a chewing gum.”
 
Giorgi Shervashidze, Lieutenant General: “What is happening in Afghanistan now is another clear demonstration of what kind of a reliable partner the United States can be for any country. They abandoned us in the same way in 2008, in a war they most likely provoked themselves, and they will abandon us the same way in the future. If, of course, we still are governed by power, that will blindly serve the interests of others.”

Sergey Gavrilov, a Russian State Duma deputy from the Communist Party: “Tens of thousands of Afghan politicians, businessmen and ordinary people trusted the Americans as credible partners to build a Western democracy in the country, but a week before the fall of Kabul Americans provoked them. Backed by LGBT organizations, they have enraged radical organizations and then shamelessly abandoned their allies, in a way that they were thrown down from the planes! ... Are Georgian politicians sure that, like their Afghan counterparts, they will not get thrown off the planes by Americans?” (Asaval-Dasavali, August 23-29)


Aleksandr Khrolenko, Military commentator: “The status of a ‘key ally’ seems to promise financial gains and guarantee American protection to Kyiv from the ‘Russian threat’. But the recent example of Afghanistan convincingly asserts that the Americans, Western standards and the armament of a 300,000-strong national army, big money - are no guarantee of anything. The United States is ready to betray its allies in a difficult moment. This is how the Americans abandoned 12 Ukrainians during an emergency evacuation at one of the bases in Kabul after the Taliban took the capital. Several Georgian, Bulgarian and Romanian soldiers were also left there.”


Victoria Nikiforova, author at РИА Новости: “NATO was once committed to protecting Europe from the Soviet threat. The danger no longer exists. Today, the United States simply uses the bloc as its own military tool and imposes taxes on member-states to maintain it. Instead of defending the allies, they are dragged into meaningless adventures and then abandoned mercilessly - in front of the whole world.”


Stanislav Tarasov, Political scientist: “Georgia is in a terrible crisis now. Developments in Afghanistan have demonstrated that the United States is ceasing to play a leading role in the Middle East and that the ‘Afghan tsunami’ may reach the South Caucasus.” (The title of the article published on Sputnik-Ossetia - “U.S. may abandon Georgia, in the same way as Afghanistan”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. did not achieve anything in Afghanistan

Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, Eurasian Union: “The country’s [Afghanistan] economy is at the same level as it was in 2001, even though “aid” worth 10 billion USD was flowing into Afghanistan every year. In fact, this money was a source of great corruption and a brazen deception of Western society itself. Unscrupulous stakeholders, the military, and politicians made big money from the war in Afghanistan. We also know of such “aids” in Georgia, when a large part of the money allocated to us is returned to the Western bureaucracy and firms, and the other part is used by the local bureaucracy and the non-governmental sector.”


Hamlet Chipashvili, Political scientist: “Why did America sacrifice the lives of the troops of itself and its allies, including our military personnel? Why throw away more than 3 trillion USD in a military adventure that was not promising in the first place? To justify himself, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken says the United States has fulfilled its mission by destroying al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The first argument is a lie.”

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia: “The U.S. military has been in the area for 20 years and has been trying to ‘civilize’ the people living there. In reality, the U.S. has been trying to establish its own norms and standards. The result is a tragedy. There is only loss not just for the U.S. but also for the Afghan people.
 
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia: “1.5 trillion USD was spent on this campaign and the result? Zero. Given the number of people who worked for the collective West, for the United States and its allies, and left for Afghanistan, then this is a humanitarian catastrophe.”
 
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry: “The Secretary-General of the NATO has analyzed the situation in Afghanistan and acknowledged it was catastrophic. The political leadership of Afghanistan has been blamed for the collapse. NATO and the United States have been training this same political force in Afghanistan for twenty years, and now they are the ones to blame. Do you call these values?“
 
Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia: “Everyone understands that the mission has failed. It is openly recognized, including in the United States. “
 
Evgeniy Buzhinsky, Expert: “Mission: Stabilization of Afghanistan, Training of the Armed Forces, Training of the System of Government - is a complete failure. I do not remember any cases when the Americans successfully trained national armed forces. They simply cannot train others. I remember the example of Georgia, they trained the Georgian Armed Forces, and in August 2008, when they learned that the ‘Vostok’ battalion was involved in the battle, they threw away weapons worth millions of dollars and fled.”
 
Viktor Litvinov, Military Reviewer: “Undoubtedly, we can compare the current situation in Afghanistan with the situation in Georgia in 2008. The Americans trained both the Afghan army and the Georgian army. The Afghan army immediately surrendered to the Taliban, and the Georgians suffered a severe defeat at the hands of Russia. That fact must be taken into account. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghan refugees pose a threat since there might be terrorists among them

Nino Ratishvili, Host at Obiektivi: “We should be scared about these refugees, about this Kabul-Tbilisi transit, because we know it usually starts with 2000 people and then it does not end. And in a small country such as Georgia, 2000 is already a lot, especially when we see that we are very oppressed in our homeland.”
 
Giorgi Lomia, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “Even if we receive 2,000 refugees today, there is still a mine that no one knows when it will explode ... The state should not grant citizenship to any foreigner if they are not subject to assimilation. If one cannot integrate into our culture, such a foreigner should not become a citizen of Georgia. “

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister: “Migrants are coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, all the countries that our Western counterparts were involved with.”
 
Igor Panarin, political scientist: “During a meeting with Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned twice that armed fighters and terrorists might be hiding under cover of refugees from Afghanistan. The Russian leader repeated this during a meeting with the United Russia party. The British plan was to admit trained fighters to the Central Asian republics along with the refugees. According to Putin, some Afghan refugees in France are on the list of terrorists and extremists.”

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. has strengthened the Taliban with weaponry

 

Levan Vasadze, ERI: The United States left $ 83 billion worth of U.S. military equipment to the Taliban. The Georgian army should’ve hoped for a similar gift during 2008, instead of the drinking water and "pampers" sent during the August war and Instead of the 5 billion USD received over those thirty years, much of which went back to the U.S. for the salaries of American consultants and NGO curators. Let’s get back to the "Taliban". Why did the globalists arm them so heavily? Because they created the devastated Islamic State for the second time, which they created for the first time during the intervention in Iraq, and which, in the form of the 'Arab Spring', overtook Arabia."

 

Giorgi Kardava, Host at “Alt-Info:” “Of course, with Americans' entry, opium production has increased a hundredfold ... The Taliban was restricting it. The agriculture in Afghanistan revolves around growing this poppy, from which heroin is then made and exported. To count the total value of the drug business, we are talking about billions; that is all, we are not talking about some grand numbers, billions, nothing more. The U.S. has spent trillions in Afghanistan… lost thousands of lives, and even left military equipment worth 85 billion USD to the Taliban.”

Philip Prokudin, author at РИА Новости: “The population of Kabul finds it ridiculous that the American leader deliberately left weapons and equipment to the mujahideen. The Taliban’s military success has provoked mixed feelings among the population: The fact that they defeated the United States and NATO and ousted the occupiers echoes their national pride. However, many remember the order the “disciples” (“Taliban” in Pashtun) established in their emirate. “They probably say, ‘Thank you, Biden, for the weaponry.”
 
Victoria Nikiforova, author at РИА Новости: “Everything looks as if they have deliberately abandoned hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons in exchange for some secret agreements behind the backs of NATO partners.”

The aforementioned messages repeat the anti-western sentiments voiced by the Kremlin and its affiliates for years now. For instance, since 2019, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia has been actively pursuing the campaign in support of the military non-alignment (i.e. neutrality). Even before, in 2016, another pro-Kremlin political party – United Democratic Movement, has been voicing the same sentiments. Both of these parties strategically utilize controversial narratives around Article 5 of NATO, which concerns collective defense. These narratives denote the idea that the rapid accession of Georgia into NATO would entail invoking Article 5 to the occupied territories only after regaining the territorial integrity, which would result in the loss of the territories occupied by Russia.

Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, one of the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots, is manipulatively using the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan to put forward the idea of military neutrality once again and offer it as the only way to survive, claiming that NATO and the U.S. are going to abandon Georgia like Afghanistan.

Not to mention, one can see the repetitive nature of the messages aimed to invoke skepticism towards the support and assistance of the West and to show that the US and the West are unreliable partners.

Apart from the old anti-Western messages, the pro-Kremlin actors and their affiliates have started disseminating false and manipulative claims about the withdrawal of the U.S. from Afghanistan. For instance, the claims that the Afghan economy has not changed since 2001, remaining at the same level, and that opium production in Afghanistan has increased a hundredfold following the U.S. intervention are false. In addition, the allegation that the U.S. has left military equipment worth 85 billion USD to the Taliban is manipulative. For more information regarding the topic, see the article of “Myth Detector:”


By Keti Khutsishvili