Russian defense chief labels Afghanistan as Central Asia’s ‘main’ instability source

Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov has identified the situation in Afghanistan as the principal source of instability in Central Asia.

Addressing the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Council of Defense Ministers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Belousov emphasized the need to bolster Tajikistan’s border security and implement additional measures to ensure regional stability, as reported by TASS.

“The risk of gangs and terrorism spilling outside Afghanistan is growing,” Belousov warned the meeting. “In the Central Asian region, the situation in Afghanistan remains the main source of instability. Numerous radical groups have gained a foothold there, stepping up attempts to promote their ideas in neighboring countries.”

Belousov stressed the necessity for “constant monitoring and prompt measures aimed at ensuring regional stability,” with a particular focus on strengthening the Tajik-Afghan border.

This statement comes amid Russia’s recent announcement, disclosed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, regarding its intention to remove the Taliban from its terrorist lists—a move criticized by the United States as sending a “bad” message.

Analysts have pointed out that Afghanistan under Taliban rule has become a major platform for terrorist groups. “Russia, understanding the threatening realities of Afghanistan, has adopted a dual strategy and seeks to tilt the current equations in its favor,” said Bismillah Taban, a military analyst.

The Taliban has not yet commented on Belousov’s remarks.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Institute for Peace reported that 23 terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, are active in Afghanistan under Taliban control.