Moscow Says Biden Unlikely to Turn Tide Regarding U.S. Troop Pullout From Afghanistan

Moscow does not rule out that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may tweak outgoing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but believes that game-changing changes are unlikely, Russia’s special presidential representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said in an interview with Sputnik.

“The change of the U.S. administration is likely to have some influence on the process of a peaceful settlement to the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We do not rule out that Joseph Biden may introduce some adjustments to the decision by the previous administration to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but these are unlikely to be profound changes,” Kabulov said.

Kabulov, who also heads the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department, expressed the belief that Biden would only modify some parameters related to the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

“However, other options are also possible, for example, replacing the regular U.S. armed forces with private military companies — which we believe would be a mistake,” the high-ranking diplomat stressed.

In February 2020, Washington and Afghan radical group, the Taliban signed a peace deal after more than 18 years of conflict. The agreement envisions foreign troops being pulled out from Afghanistan within 14 months and the launch of intra-Afghan peace talks following a deal on prisoner exchanges between the Taliban and the government.