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Top Russian MP welcomes US extending presence in Afghanistan

October 15, 2015, 21:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In this case Americans will be able to play a positive role: prevent Taliban from moving north to the southern borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a Russian lawmaker says
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© AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini

MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. The US extending its military presence in Afghanistan is a strategically important and positive move, the first deputy chairman of the Russian upper house’s international affairs committee said in comments on a statement by US President Barack Obama.

"I see this as a positive move. In this case Americans will be able to play a positive role: prevent Taliban from moving north to the southern borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States," Vladimir Dzhabarov said, noting that he supported the decision.

Earlier on Thursday, Obama said the US would keep the current number of US military, 9,800, in Afghanistan for the most part of 2016, and their mission would remain the same.

President Obama said the troop extension could "make a real difference" for Afghanistan and Afghan security forces, which he said were "not as strong" as they needed to be.

The Federation Council’s parliamentarian believes it is a purely military decision connected with Islamic extremists’ growing activity in the region.

"The situation has not stabilized as of yet, and Mr. Obama understands that it is easier to have a contingent there not to let this situation develop under a negative scenario, than to have to then launch a new military operation," the parliamentarian said.

He said he did not see any other "covert political background" in the decision of the US president.

In March, Obama suspended the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, although earlier he had pledged that half of them would return home by the end of this year, and that in a year’s time American military would stay only on the territory of the US Embassy in Kabul.

On Thursday, the president said the US would keep 5,500 troops after 2016 that would be stationed in four locations - Kabul, Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar.

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