Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with children on Wednesday in Vladivostok, Russia. In his remarks, Putin said the U.S. military campaign in Afghaistan achieved "zero." Photo by Sergei Bobylev/Sputnik/Kremlin/EPA-EFE
Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Well acquainted with his country's own military defeat in Afghanistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticized the U.S. campaign in the Middle Eastern nation -- saying that it ended with only "tragedies" and "losses."
Speaking to children at a school in far eastern Russia, Putin said the United States erred in thinking it could attempt to "civilize" Afghanistan.
"For twenty years, the American troops were present on that territory and for twenty years they attempted - and we can say so without hurting anyone's feelings -- to 'civilize' the people living there," he said, according to the state-run Tass news agency.
"[The U.S.] to introduce their norms and standards of life in the broadest sense of this word, including the political organization of society. This has ended up only in tragedies, and only in losses both for those who did this, for the United States and, all the more so, for the people who are living on the territory of Afghanistan."
The Russian leader has previously criticized Western countries for trying to impose their values on non-Western nations. During the chaos of evacuations last week, Putin said Russia would not interfere, having learned from Russia's own failed 10-year military fight in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
"The outcome is zero, if not downright negative," Putin added in his remarks Wednesday.
"One has to understand that nothing must be imposed upon other people from outside."
Russia voted against a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan and humanitarian teams to enter.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley deliver remarks about the end of the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va., on September 1. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo