Russia inviting Afghanistan to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum coupled with the statement that came from Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan are significant developments given the fact that Russia’s engagement on the Ukraine front seems to have delayed its response on Afghanistan and its transition. Special Envoy, Zamir Kabulov, in an interview to state TV, Channel One Russia, said that there is such a possibility that Russia may recognize the interim government of Afghanistan but a final decision will come from President Putin and the Foreign Minister. He also said that Russia will not follow any other country in the matter of recognition but will take its own decision.
He also told that the Trade Minister of the IEA would pay a visit to Moscow and President Putin had allowed grain to be reserved for Afghanistan. Ease being created in the economic ties is also apparent Russia’s decision to exempt Afghanistan’s exports from preferential and customs tariff. A delegation of members of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries also took part in the St Petersburg Economic Forum. The delegation was headed by the Charge d’ affaires of Kabul in Moscow. The delegation was warmly welcomed in Russia. Though Afghanistan and Russia are far from being major trading partners but both the countries have remained in close cooperation historically. At present, Afghanistan is ranked 106 out of 241 in the list of countries that are Russia’s top trading partners.
All these developments highlight Russia’s growing interest in Afghanistan since the fall of Kabul in August, 2021. Many countries have projected an active stance on Afghanistan as the first year of the US withdrawal nears, but Russia is perhaps the first to hint at a “possibility” of recognition.