Moscow and Bei-jing have not re-ached an agreement on a common positi-on on the Taliban, so they are refraining from developing a single agenda. The recent cancellation of Putin’s visit to Tajikistan for the Shanghai Coope-ration Organization (SCO) summit has raised a number of questions, and few believe it could be the usual quarantine the Russian leader is referring to.
We will recall that Putin announced the cancellation of his visit shortly before t-he SCO and Collective Se-curity Treaty Organization (CSTO) meetings in Dus-hanbe on September 15.
In a telephone conversation with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, he stated that due to cases of coronavirus infection in his area, he had to go through self-isolation. Experts are skeptical of this fact.
Nurali Davlatov, journalist, political scientist:
- Putin’s refusal to attend the SCO summit was a surprise to many. Moreover, P-utin made the announceme-nt just a day before his visit.
I don’t really believe the official hypothesis about quarantine. As far as I know, Putin was vaccinated in the summer and widely promoted the Russian Sputnik vaccine, so the Russian president’s statement became somewhat anti-vaccine. But in reality, the cancellation of his trip may have several reasons.
First, the statement came after Chinese President Xi Jinping canceled his participation in the summit, so it is possible that the Russian president has decided that if the Chinese leader does not come, then he should not go to Dushanbe. The second reason is that China and Russia have established good relations with the Taliban, so Moscow and Beijing do not share Dushanbe’s position, which is openly opposed to any cooperation with the Taliban. The third reason is that there could be a conflict be-tween China and Pakistan on the one hand and India and Tajikistan on the other. Russia, which has good re-lations with almost all co-untries, had to define its po-sition precisely. Apparently, Putin has decided to take a wait-and-see attitude.
Amiri Zamon, political scientist:
- Most likely, the reason is that Moscow and Beijing did not agree on a common position on the Taliban. First, the Chinese leader and then Putin refrained from traveling to Dushanbe, and I think that makes perfect sense, because the main dialogue should have taken place between them.
In my opinion, Beijing and Moscow are not happy about the situation in Afghanistan. Moscow is skeptical of the Taliban’s promises and therefore wants to step up resistance in Panjshir, but the Chinese do not want that.
China, in turn, fully supports the Taliban. For China, the Taliban has always been a major factor in instability in Afghanistan and an obstacle to Beijing’s investment projects in the country. According to their logic, if an agreement is reached with the Taliban, this instability will be eliminated and new opportunities will open up for Beijing in Afghanistan.
They also hope the Taliban will get rid of Uighur separatists, and in light of the Taliban’s claims, they have adopted the rules of the game (pragmatically). The Taliban claim that China is a friendly country for them and that the Uighurs are separatist .
Therefore, Beijing and Moscow are avoiding the establishment of a common program, and therefore Beijing has refused to participate directly in the meeting, and Moscow has done the same. Now everyone wants to run their own game.