Impostor and Taliban: who went to Afghanistan on behalf of South Ossetia and why
S. Ossetian representative in talks with Taliban may have been an impostor
In South Ossetia, a scandal flared up around the visit to Afghanistan of the so-called. representative of the Foreign Intelligence Service Alexei Maksimov. This is a person who, through fictitious organizations, appropriated awards and military ranks to himself, and it is not yet clear how he ended up in the office. Why Maksimov is negotiating on behalf of South Ossetia and what exactly was discussed in Afghanistan – the authorities do not comment on this in any way.
Talks in Kabul
Deputy Prime Minister in the new administration of Afghanistan Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar met with a representative of South Ossetia. This information, accompanied by a photograph, appeared on Twitter of the spokesman for the political office of the Taliban movement Muhammad Naim on September 23.
“At the meeting, issues related to both countries, regional security, and the situation in Afghanistan were discussed”, the message said.
The Taliban, an Islamist organization that seized power in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops from there, is recognized as a terrorist by many countries of the world, including Russia. That, however, did not prevent the Russian authorities from holding talks with Taliban representatives in Moscow in August 2021.
- Op-ed: USA left Afghanistan – can it leave Georgia?
- Op-ed: what threatens the environment in South Ossetia
- S. Ossetian opposition ends parliament boycott following constitutional reform promise
Soon the news of the meeting in Kabul appeared on the telegram channels. Users from South Ossetia immediately noticed the identity of the South Ossetian representative. It turned out to be Alexei Maksimov, a man who recently found himself at the center of another scandal not long ago.
Who is Maximov
As JAMnews reported earlier, Alexei Maksimov, a Russian citizen invited from Moscow, was appointed in 2019 as an advisor to the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of South Ossetia, and soon as deputy head of the SVR.
Thanks to foreign sources, at the end of August 2021, the public of South Ossetia became aware of dubious facts in the biography of Maksimov. Namely – him attributing to oneself non-existent military merits and awards.
Maksimov himself had by that time returned to Moscow, where he introduced himself as a “representative of the SVR of South Ossetia”.
The authorities then left unanswered the questions of citizens and politicians regarding Maksimov and the motives for his appointment.
“Maksimov was invited from Moscow, and, probably, the motives for this were weighty”, a source in the South Ossetian presidential administration replied at the time.
“Agent of Georgia”, “provocateur” – reaction in South Ossetia
The news of Maximov’s visit instantly spread across social media. The reaction of Ossetian users was mostly negative and even angry. And due to the lack of information about the details and goals of Maximov’s voyage to Kabul, various conspiracy theories arose.
A considerable part of users is inclined to think that Maximov was sent by opponents “to discredit the image of the republic”. Some even hint that he is a “secret agent of Georgia”.
In both Russian and Ossetian telegram channels, such actions of a little-known character in South Ossetia are called a provocation. The authors of the anonymous Telegram channel “Russian Orientalist” write sarcastically:
“Great news came across in the tape: it turns out that South Ossetia has its own SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) and the head of this service is negotiating with the Taliban! Well, 50,000 South Ossetians would conduct reconnaissance of Georgian territories. But here the ambitions are much broader. Honestly speaking, feels like it’s some kind of scam”.
“Everything that happens is too profitable for a certain” third party”, seemingly not at all connected with what is happening. Most likely, a lover of a charm with an official seal, playing the role of an employee of the foreign intelligence service with a” special mission “in the country of victorious terrorism, will face a serious one upon his return.” debriefing “, note the authors of the Ossetian telegram channel “Gazyri”.
Taliban and recognition of S.Ossetia
A month ago, one of the South Ossetian opposition deputies, ex-Foreign Minister of the Republic of South Ossetia, David Sanakoev, published an enthusiastic post on Facebook that the Taliban had triumphantly returned to Afghanistan, and it was necessary to enter into negotiations with them.
In his opinion, since the Taliban was founded by the Pashtuns, the Iranian-speaking indigenous people of the country, akin to the Ossetians, who oppose the United States and Georgia, the new Afghan authorities may agree to recognize the independence of South Ossetia.
But almost no one in South Ossetia took his statement seriously, many even laughed at him.
The ex-minister was reminded of the lost opportunity as minister to seek recognition of South Ossetia from the official and legal authorities of Afghanistan, with whom no one seemed to forbid Sanakoev to establish relations.
And also that, according to the same principle, he could seek recognition from Iran, where Persians, related to the Ossetians, also reside.
However, one of the sources in Tskhinvali assures that this scandalous initiative was first uttered by an employee of the Presidential Administration of South Ossetia, i.e. an official from the pro-government camp, and Sanakoev, they say, simply stole someone else’s “blank”.
According to the interlocutor, the opposition and the authorities are in solidarity on this issue and allegedly “play with the same goal”.
It is difficult to judge whether it is true or not, but Maksimov’s visit clearly does not bode well for Tskhinval’s reputation.
The public is interested in who delegated this “negotiator”: President Bibilov or the opposition leader Sanakoev, who called for the recognition of the Taliban? Who financed his voyage, and most importantly, for what purpose?
Maximov’s Afghan project?
Some experts suggested that Maksimov’s visit could be based on his “narrowly mercantile goals”.
Maksimov is apparently connected with Afghanistan not only by his visit to the Taliban. As you know from publications in the media, in 2014, the implementation of the pilot phase of the Amaranth project began in Afghanistan. The aim of the project was an experiment to replace the opium poppy with an unconventional agricultural crop, amaranth.
The project was carried out, along with the EVRAZIS Foundation and the Timiryazev Russian Agricultural Academy, and the International Academy of Informatization, of which Alexei Maksimov was an active member.
This organization in Russia has been criticized more than once for “spreading pseudoscience” and trading in diplomas and academic degrees. And even ranked among the destructive totalitarian sects.
According to the idea, South Ossetian agronomists were to participate in the implementation of the project. True, in South Ossetia nothing is known about the agronomists who helped the Afghans to abandon the cultivation of opium poppy.
The authorities are silent
On the part of the authorities, in regards to the scandal with Maximov, like last time, there was no official reaction.
It was not possible to find out whether the head of the SVR of the Republic of South Ossetia Alexei Varziev knows about the visit of his “employee”. The reaction of South Ossetian President Anatoly Bibilov also remains unclear. A source in the Foreign Ministry said that the department knew nothing about this visit.
However, the authorities will not be able to remain silent for a long time around this incident and will have to provide at least some answer, if not a report on the secret mission of “agent Tskhinvali” in the lair of the Taliban, an organization recognized as a terrorist.
Toponyms and terminology used in the publications, and views, opinions and strategies they contain do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JAMnews or any employees thereof. JAMnews reserves the right to delete comments it considers to be offensive, or otherwise unacceptable.