29.05.2024 Author: Nikolay Plotnikov

Visit of Afghan scientists to Russia

Visit of Afghan scientists to Russia

On May 27-28, 2024, a delegation of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan, headed by Vice-President Moulawi Rozi Mohammad Rashid, visited Moscow at the invitation of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (OIS RAS). This is the first visit of Afghan scientists to Russia after the Taliban came to power in August 2021.

According to Rozi Mohammad Rashid, in Kabul the invitation of the delegation of Afghan scientists to the Russian capital was regarded as yet another confirmation of the seriousness of the Russian leadership’s intentions to change their policy vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Also, he said that Afghanistan highly appreciates the proposal of the Russian MFA and Ministry of Justice addressed to President Vladimir Putin to consider the possibility of excluding the Taliban from the list of banned organisations.

The reality is such that, at the moment, the power in the centre and on the ground is in the hands of the Taliban. The government they formed, and the local authorities, are trying to restore order in a country that has been at war for several decades. Some success has been achieved in the fight against opium poppy cultivation in the country, the fight against corruption has begun, and tax collection has been streamlined. Yes, it is true that the Taliban have a long way to go yet, but the most important thing is the desire of Afghans to live the way they want without outside dictation.

Unfortunately – and this was emphasised by members of the delegation of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan at a meeting with scientists of the IOS RAS – there are external forces that are dissatisfied with this. They are the ones behind the recent events in Bamiyan, as a result of which foreign tourists were killed and injured. Rozi Mohammada Rashid said that the authorities responded immediately to this tragic incident and the perpetrators were detained. They will appear in court in the near future and measures have been taken to find the one who ordered this incident. The head of the delegation believes that by such actions, the enemies of Afghanistan want to cast a shadow on the new government of the country, discredit it and show that it is unable to perform state functions.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs publishes a weekly summary of armed attacks in the country. After the Taliban came to power, they decreased significantly. Crimes involving the use of weapons usually occur on a day-to-day basis, but, nevertheless, terrorist incidents also do occur periodically, the financers of which, according to Afghan scientists, are located outside the country.

The Vice President of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan explained to Russian scientists in detail the domestic political situation in the country, measures taken by the authorities in the trade and economic spheres, measures to combat corruption and illegal drug production, as well as the problems faced by the people of Afghanistan.

As Rozi Mohammad Rashid stressed, the Taliban movement is not an enemy of Russia: “Relations between our countries are on the rise. The Soviet Union, unlike the West, did a lot in Afghanistan: built factories, roads, power stations, irrigation facilities, gas pipelines, residential buildings, educational complexes. The Afghan people are counting on Russia’s help in reviving the country”.

At a meeting with scientists of the IOS RAS, the General Secretary of the Academy, Rafiullah Niyazi, spoke in detail about the structure of the institution and explained what problems Afghan scientists are currently focusing on. He expressed gratitude to the USSR and the Russian Federation, the legal successor of the USSR, for the assistance that Soviet and Russian scientists have provided to their Afghan colleagues for the almost 100 years of the Academy’s existence. Rafiullah Niyazi listed many Soviet and Russian Afghan scholars who, in his opinion, made a huge contribution to the study of the history, culture and languages of the peoples of Afghanistan. Among them, many researchers were named from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the IOS RAS.

According to the Afghan representatives, their country is in dire need of a wide range of trained specialists: doctors, engineers, specialists in the field of energy, metallurgy, transport, agriculture, veterinary medicine. Kabul would also like to resume the training of postgraduate and doctoral students in Russian universities. Afghanistan hopes that Russia will provide great assistance in this and is ready to consider signing cooperation agreements with the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.

Much attention was paid to the system of Islamic education created in Russia. To this end, the delegation of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan visited the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, where they participated in a joint prayer with the leadership of the Muftiate of the Russian Federation. The delegation also visited the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, where they also held a joint prayer, and then got acquainted with the educational process of the Islamic Institute. The members of the delegation were familiarised with the development of religious, scientific, educational and intellectual life in Russia over the past 30 years. The guests were pleasantly surprised by the freedom of religion existing in Russia, the three-stage system of theological education created and the possibility to write and defend doctoral dissertations at state universities and institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Separately, Damir Mukhetdinov, First Deputy Chairman of the Duma of the Russian Federation, Rector of the Moscow Islamic Institute, editor-in-chief of the publishing house “Medina”, spoke about the activities of the publishing house. It produces textbooks for Muslim educational institutions, books on Muslim theology, newspapers, magazines, including in Arabic, Turkish and Farsi. The guests were invited to send the works of Afghan theologians to “Medina” for possible publication, as well as to participate in scientific conferences held by the Muftiate of Russia.

Summing up the visit, the IOS RAS and representatives of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan agreed to make contacts regular and plan out the possibility of concluding cooperation agreements. When leaving, the Afghan scientists said that they were convinced of the desire of Russia and its people to help their country swiftly move to a peaceful life and become an economic centre connecting the countries of Central and South Asia.


Nikolay PLOTNIKOV, Head of the Centre for Scientific and Analytical Information, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Political Sciences, especially for the online magazine «New Eastern Outlook»

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