Putin critical of U.S. presence in Afghanistan

Speaking to teenagers at an educational facility in the Russian far east, Putin made clear that he deemed the U.S. approach to a country once invaded by the Soviet Union to have been deeply flawed.

"U.S. forces were present on this territory for 20 years and for 20 years tried ... to civilize the people who live there, to instil their own norms and standards of life in the widest possible sense of this word, including when it comes to the political organization of society," said Putin.

"The result is only tragedies and losses of life for those who did it, the United States, and even more so for those people who live on the territory of Afghanistan. The result is zero, if not a negative one all round."

The final U.S. forces pulled out of Afghanistan on Monday and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Tuesday of the end of an era of major military operations to remake other countries.

The U.S. exit is a security headache for Moscow, which sees nearby former Soviet Central Asia as part of its southern defensive flank and fears the spread of radical Islamism.

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