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Russia does not view situation in Afghanistan through lens of rivalry with US — NATO envoy

November 10, 2017, 4:55 UTC+3

According to Grushko, Russia continues its direct assistance to Afghanistan

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BRUSSELS, November 10. /TASS/. Russia does not view the situation in Afghanistan through the lens of rivalry with the United States, Russia’s NATO envoy Alexander Grushko said on Thursday, commenting on the results of the NATO defense ministers meeting.

"We do not view the situation in Afghanistan, as well as other regional situations, through the lens of rivalry with the US. It is of vital importance for us to have a lasting peace on the territory of this country, to prevent it from being a source of terrorist and extremist threats, to make Afghanistan a platform for broad international cooperation. We are ready to work with everyone who shares our goals," he told Russian reporters in Brussels.

According to Grushko, Russia continues its direct assistance to Afghanistan, despite NATO’s 2014 decision to freeze all military cooperation projects under the Russia-NATO Council, including in Afghanistan.

"We are open for cooperation, but even without NATO we continue some of our program. Even if the alliance will want to return to frozen projects, it will be quite difficult to do this, because the place of the Russia-NATO council partners has now been taken by other countries, which have a better understanding of the real situation and of their own interests," he said.

He described NATO’s decision to freeze cooperation with Russia as "shooting one’s own leg," because "all NATO countries suffer from the Afghan drug threat, and countering it will require a combined effort by all sides."

"We continue to render direct assistance to Afghanistan, we train various specialists, we delivered a batch of firearms last year, and offer other necessary assistance to the Afghan Interior Ministry," the envoy added.

"NATO realizes and admits the growing role of regional factors in Afghanistan. New formats and dialogue platforms are being created. And, of course, NATO’s strategic assessments take into account the growing regional factor of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the increasing role of Russia," he said.

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