International

Russia against U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has come out against the withdrawal of the international military forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

In an interview to the Afghan TV channel TOLO, Mr. Lavrov said the NATO-led forces should not pull out until they fulfil a U.N. mandate to establish a stable government and credible defence forces in Afghanistan.

“I don't think the goal has been achieved,” said Mr. Lavrov when asked whether the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) should leave Afghanistan in 2014 as proposed.

“It is clear that problems remain in Afghanistan. We are especially concerned about terrorist activity in the north of Afghanistan. Terrorists are effectively being pushed towards the north, from where they infiltrate to the territory of Central Asian states adjacent to Russia,” he said according to a transcript of the interview posted on the Foreign Ministry's website on Monday.

The ISAF “must implement their mandate before they leave, and before they leave, they must report to the U.N. Security Council that the mandate has been fulfilled.”

The Security Council is due to review the ISAF mandate later this week.

Military bases

Mr. Lavrov also criticised the U.S. plan to maintain military bases in Afghanistan after 2014, calling the move “illogical”.

“If you need the military presence, then continue implementing the mandate of the Security Council. If you don't want to implement the mandate or if you believe that you have implemented it, but still want to establish and keep the military bases, that's not logical,” Mr. Lavrov said. “I also believe that Afghan territory should not be used to create military facilities that would cause concern of third parties.”

“We don't understand the purpose of the military bases, and, besides, the United States is talking to Central Asian countries about long-term military presence. We want to understand the reason and purpose of these plans. We don't think it would be helpful for the stability of the region.”

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:04:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-against-us-drawdown-in-afghanistan/article3013518.ece

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