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Russia accuses US of forcing Afghans on Central Asia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media during his and Serbia's Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 16, 2021. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media during his and Serbia's Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 16, 2021. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that US forces are “pawning off” Afghans fleeing the Taliban to neighboring Moscow-allied Central Asia.

During a visit to Hungary, Lavrov said the United States is trying to convince “several Central Asian countries” to take in Afghans who previously worked with US forces in the now Taliban-controlled country.

He alleged that Washington tells the countries the Afghans will only be there temporarily.

“They say it’s for a few months because they need time to make them visas,” Lavrov said at a press conference with his Hungarian counterpart in Budapest.

“Afghans who worked with US forces were probably security checked inside out. Why do you need two more months to give these people a visa?” he asked, accusing the United States of a lack of respect for Central Asian nations.

Around 1,500 Afghans have crossed into neighboring Uzbekistan after the Taliban takeover and are living in tents near the border, according to the Afghan embassy in Tashkent.

Lavrov’s comments come after Russian leader Vladimir Putin complained last week about Western countries trying to place Afghan refugees in Central Asian countries “before obtaining visas to the United States or other countries.”

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