Don't want Afghan militants arriving under cover of refugees: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday criticised the United States and the NATO allies for sending refugees from Afghanistan to central Asian countries, and said they pose a direct threat to Moscow.
Calling the visa-free refuge of Afghan migrants in Asia "unfair", Putin said he would bring up the issue at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit on Monday, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported.
On Saturday, Putin held a virtual meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev where the two leaders discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
Putin criticised an idea of some Western countries to send refugees from Afghanistan to neighbouring Central Asian countries while their visas to the United States and Europe are being processed, according to Reuters.
"We don't want Afghan militants arriving under cover of refugees," Ria Novosti quoted Putin as saying. He added that the issue of refugees from Afghanistan will be a priority for the Russian foreign ministry.
Some central Asian nations, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — which share borders with Afghanistan — have raised concerns over the influx of refugees into their countries after fleeing Taliban regime. They are worried Islamic State fighters and other fundamentalists as well as religious extremists could infiltrate into the countries in the guise of refugees.
Al Jazeera reported that thousands of natives of Uzbekistan and other central Asian countries joined the IS while hundreds others found refuge in northern Afghanistan.
Countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan fear that Taliban's hardline religious views could disturb their secular social fabric.
Thousands of Afghans have been making desperate attempts to flee the war-torn nation after Kabul fell to the Taliban last week.
The Pentagon said last week that the US has evacuated more than 7,000 people from Afghanistan since the start of rescue operations on August 14.