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Lavrov: Situation in Afghanistan has tendency towards worsening

June 18, 2013, 14:50 UTC+3

Russian Foreign Minister believes the reduction of strength that has begun must be compensated by an increase in combat effectiveness of the Afghan law enforcement structures

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MOSCOW, June 18 (Itar-Tass) - The current situation in Afghanistan is far from stable and has a tendency towards worsening, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with KUNA news agency on Tuesday.

“We have a strong impression that in their bid to return the bulk of their own forces as soon as possible, Americans and their allies unreasonably facilitate the process of delegating responsibility to Afghans, without looking back at the concrete situation in those regions where this delegation proceeds,” he stressed.

“In order to avoid the collapse of the situation in the country as a result of the pullout of ISAF troops from Afghanistan, the reduction of its strength that has begun must be compensated by an increase in combat effectiveness of the Afghan law enforcement structures which, in the long run, must be capable to control independently security in their state, to efficiently resist extremist groups and drug crime,” Lavrov noted. “So far we have seen no visible progress in that direction,” he said.

“The presidential election in the country is scheduled for April 5, 2014, and by the end of the next year the process of delegating responsibility to Afghan law enforcement agencies from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) must be finished. “The development of the situation after 2014 will depend to a great extent on how successful these steps will be as well as on progress in national reconciliation,” he said.

According to Lavrov, the Russian side consistently helps Afghanistan “in strengthening combat effectiveness of the national security forces, its establishment as a peaceful, stable, independent and neutral state capable to independently solve problems of fight against terrorism, drugs and organized crime”.

“In practical terms we help Afghanistan, in particular, in training military, police and anti-drug specialists and upgrading their skills,” Lavrov added.

He drew attention to the fact that the development of the situation in Central Asia “directly affects national security of Russia”. “The processes underway in Afghanistan visibly influence the situation in the region. A danger exists that it will destabilize,” the top Russian diplomat said. “All the more as ethnic Uzbek and Tajik of extremist and terrorist groups basing in northern Afghanistan are already making plans to infiltrate into the territories of Central Asian countries,” Lavrov added.

In order to strengthen stability in the region, Russia helps in different ways its Central Asian partners. “First of all we contribute to the strengthening of economic potentials of regional countries,” he said. “Alone from 2008 to 2012 Russia’s aid to Central Asian states amounted to over one billion dollars,” the foreign minister stressed.

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