“The situation in Afghanistan is not easy,” the Russian president said during a video meeting with the leaders of the intelligence services of the former Soviet republics.
He added that “fighters experienced in military operations from Iraq and Syria” are actively moving to Afghanistan.
He continued, “It is possible that terrorists seek to destabilize the situation in neighboring countries.”
Putin has repeatedly warned against members of militant groups taking advantage of the political turmoil in Afghanistan to cross into neighboring former Soviet republics as refugees.
While Moscow has expressed cautious optimism about the new Taliban leadership in Kabul, the Kremlin is concerned about the possibility of instability spreading to Central Asia, where Russia has military bases.
Shortly after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, Russia conducted military exercises with Tajikistan, where it has a military base, and in Uzbekistan. The two countries border Afghanistan.
During the conference, the head of the National Security Committee of Tajikistan Seymomin Yatimov said that he had detected an “intensification” of attempts to “smuggle drugs, weapons and ammunition” from Afghanistan to his country.
Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium and heroin in the world, and the proceeds from the illegal trade in these substances contribute to the financing of the Taliban.
On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron received Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon, and pledged to help maintain the country’s stability.
While the Taliban stresses that they do not pose a threat to Central Asian countries, attacks attributed to allies of Afghan militants have previously targeted former Soviet republics in the region.
And last week, the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said that Russia would invite the Taliban to participate in talks on the Afghan file to be held in Moscow on October 20.