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International relations

Asian powers plot to fill US vacuum in Afghanistan

From Beijing to Ankara, the race for influence in Kabul is underway

A U.S. Marine shouts as he tries to protect an Afghan man and his child after Taliban fighters opened fire in the Helmand Province town of Marjah in Afghanistan in 2010.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Forty-eight hours after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels, U.S. President Joe Biden met Wednesday with another leader of a country Washington has thorny ties to: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As with Turkey, Biden seeks to build a constructive relationship with Russia as he tries to reestablish America's international alliances and partnerships. He also wants to clear his desk while setting his sights on China, Washington's primary "strategic competitor." But an additional factor driving Biden to push for normalized ties, even cooperation, with Ankara and Moscow is the increasingly fraught situation in Afghanistan.

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