After both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping sent junior deputies to an earlier G-20 leaders' meeting on Afghanistan, Russia hosted a meeting with senior Taliban leaders in Moscow this week, it raised the question of whether this is part of a broader strategic plan for how Beijing and Moscow plan to work together on the world stage, according to Nikkei report.
For both China and Russia, Afghanistan is a bit of a conundrum. Despite their fears of a large American military presence on their doorsteps, Moscow and Beijing were secretly relieved that Washington was taking responsibility for the security situation on the ground, according to the report.
Now, irritated at the mess the US has left behind, China and Russia have decided that the best way forward is to engage with the Taliban and jointly explore options. Both publicly engaged with the Taliban before Kabul fell, and both have maintained a significant diplomatic presence since the Taliban took control. Russia and China have both pushed for the lifting of Taliban sanctions at the United Nations, according to the report, which was highlighted during this week's Moscow Summit.
China has strengthened its small base in Tajikistan, undertaking a number of bilateral exercises with Tajik special forces, and the Russians have bolstered the Tajik armed forces as well as strengthened their own 7,000-strong military presence there and participated in larger regional exercises with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, it added.