According to the U.S officials, a meeting was held between the Pentagon’s top military officer Gen. Mark Milley and his Russian counterpart, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov to talk about apparent offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin to use Russian military’s bases in Central Asia so as to respond to any emerging terrorist threats in Afghanistan.
This offer comes at a time when the Biden administration is searching for ways to strengthen its capability to monitor and respond to potential terrorist dangers in Afghanistan.
According to U.S officials and the Russian Newspaper Kommersant, during the summit meeting in Geneva on June 16, talks were held between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is in this meeting that Putin floated the idea of hosting U.S. military personnel on Russian bases present in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. And that is why, the NSC staff of US asked Gen. Milley to clarify whether Putin was simply making a debating point or was hinting at a serious offer.
“We won’t comment on this matter,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
At present, the U.S. is relying on bases in the Gulf region, including in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates but it takes a lot of time since the drones and aircraft have to fly several hundred miles away therefore US military is looking for its bases in Central Asia.
A Biden administration official said the U.S. isn’t seeking Moscow’s permission to position forces closer to Afghanistan but wanted to better understand Putin’s position.
“We will pursue our own policies based on our own objectives,” the official said. “The reality is Russia is an element of the equation in the region and so we are engaging with them.”
Image Courtesy: Wall street journal