Russia will be ready to reopen the Consulate General in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, as soon as it receives firm security guarantees for its diplomats. Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s special representative for Afghanistan and director of the Second Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.
He recalled that historically, the Russian Consulate General was based in Hairatan on the border with Uzbekistan, and an office was rented in Mazar-i-Sharif, where diplomats traveled on a rotating basis to provide consular services.
Kabulov noted that all employees of the Russian Consulate General were removed from Mazar-e-Sharif to Hairatan. At the same time, he said, the external guards provided to the diplomats by the Afghan authorities “scattered,” and “the Afghan army is collapsing its positions.”
“In this situation I immediately contacted Mullah Baradar (the head of the political office of the Taliban organization banned in Russia in Qatar, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. – Editor). He swore that all field commanders were instructed that not a speck of dust should fall on the Consulate General of the Russian Federation,” the diplomat said.
He added that there is a local national security directorate near the consulate general’s territory, which could be targeted by the Taliban, “and when and if the fight starts, it is not known who might shoot in the direction of our consulate general.”
“We want to wait it out, see when the situation stabilizes. We can’t risk our people. As soon as we get guarantees … Our diplomats are already bored on Uzbek territory, they want to go back to work,” Kabulov added.
At present, the Taliban control significant areas of Afghanistan and attack a number of cities. On July 9, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow noticed a sharp increase in tension on the Afghan-Tajik border, two-thirds of which is controlled by the Taliban. According to her, there are cases of Afghan forces crossing over to Tajik territory.
July 9 media reported that Taliban militants had taken control of checkpoints on the Afghan border with Iran and Turkmenistan. The checkpoints are in Herat province. It was specified that militants declared about seizure of customs in the cities of Islam-Kala and Torgundi.
The aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan is observed against the background of the withdrawal of the American military contingent from the country. The Central Command of the U.S. Armed Forces said that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan was 90% complete.