Russia Expresses Concern Over Ethnic Tensions in Afghanistan

Moscow on Thursday expressed hope that the new Afghan authorities (Taliban officials) would take all possible measures to prevent ethnic tensions in Afghanistan.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova in a press briefing said that Russia is concerned about ethnic protests in the north of Afghanistan following the arrest of an Uzbek-origin Taliban commander.

“We are concerned that some destructive forces are staging in order to ignite ethnic tensions and destabilize the situation as the country is going through troubled times,” Zakharova added.

At the same time, Zakharova said that Moscow noted the Taliban’s successful counterterrorism activities which resulted in the killing of a former leader of the Islamic State’s (outlawed in Russia) cell in Afghanistan.

Zakharova called on the Taliban to pay more focus on counterterrorism measures, particularly to pay attention to terrorist activities in the Northern provinces with its Central Asian neighbors.

On January 13, hundreds of people in the northern Faryab province staged demonstrations, demanding the Taliban to release a prominent Taliban commander Makhdoom Alam that was arrested illegally by the Ministry of Defense.

The protestors who took to the streets in the provincial capital Maimana city of Faryab said that Makhdoom Alam, an Uzbek commander, is arrested on ethnic bases.

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