Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, at Moscow's Manezh Central Exhibition Hall.
  • Putin said the US war in Afghanistan only resulted in tragedies for everyone involved.
  • "The result is zero, if not a negative one all round," Putin said, reported Reuters.
  • The US completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday after a 20-year war.
  • For more stories go to

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday described the US war in Afghanistan as a tragedy for everyone involved.

"US forces were present on this territory for 20 years and for 20 years tried... to civilize the people who live there, to instill their own norms and standards of life in the widest possible sense of this word, including when it comes to the political organisation of society," Putin said in comments to teenagers at an educational facility in Russia's far east, per Reuters.

"The result is only tragedies and losses of life for those who did it, the US, 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," Putin added.

The Russian leader also emphasised that when it comes to Afghans "it's not possible to foist anything on them from the outside."

The US completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday, ending its 20-year war in the country. It left with the Taliban, a militant Islamist group it knocked from power not long after first invading in 2001, back in control of Afghanistan. The Biden administration has faced widespread criticism over its handling of the withdrawal.

Russia has its own painful history when it comes to Afghanistan.

From 1979 to 1989, the Soviets waged a devastating war in Afghanistan in an ultimately failed effort to prop up the communist government at the time. Putin was a young KGB officer in Germany during much of that conflict.

The Russian president's comments on Afghanistan echoed recent remarks made by ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who oversaw the Soviet withdrawal from the country in 1989. Gorbachev called the US war in Afghanistan a "failed enterprise from the start."

"They should have admitted failure earlier," Gorbachev told the Russian state-owned news outlet RIA, Reuters reported. "The important thing now is to draw the lessons from what happened and make sure that similar mistakes are not repeated."

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.