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In a phone call on Wednesday (August 25), Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to step up efforts to combat the threats of “terrorism” and drug trafficking from Afghanistan, the Kremlin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (File photo: AP)

They also spoke of the “importance of establishing peace” in Afghanistan and “preventing the spread of instability to adjacent regions” following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15.

The two leaders “agreed to intensify bilateral contacts” and “make the most of the potential” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that is due to convene for a summit in Tajikistan next month.

Several ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia — where Moscow holds military bases — share a border both with Afghanistan and China.

Although Moscow has taken a cautiously optimistic approach towards the new leadership in Afghanistan, President Putin has warned of Afghan militants entering neighbouring countries as refugees.

Mr. Putin has also criticised the involvement of outside powers in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs and said Moscow had “learnt lessons” from the Soviet Union’s decade-long invasion of the country.

For its part, after the Taliban swept to power, China said it is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative relations” with Afghanistan.

Team Eastern Interest
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