Putin Doesn't Want Afghan Refugees in Central Asia

Some refugees are headed to Russia's neighbors Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 22, 2021 5:30 PM CDT
Putin Doesn't Want Afghan Refugees in Central Asia
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to attend a meeting with members of United Russia party in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021.   (Sergei Guneyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russia's president has criticized Western nations for seeking to temporarily house Afghan refugees in Central Asian countries, citing security concerns for Russia. Speaking at a meeting with top officials of the Kremlin’s United Russia party on Sunday, Vladimir Putin blasted what he described as a “humiliating approach” by Western states. The Russian president noted that there are no visa restrictions between Russia and its Central Asian allies, and said that Moscow doesn’t “want militants appearing (in Russia) again under the guise of refugees.”

“We don’t want to repeat, even in part, something what we had in the 90s and in the mid-2000s, when there were hostilities in the North Caucasus,” Putin said. Thousands of people in Afghanistan have been looking for ways to leave the country after the Taliban took control of Kabul in a swift power grab, seeking to escape what they see as a return to ruthless fundamentalist rule. Hundreds have headed to the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which share a border with Afghanistan.

(More Afghanistan stories.)

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