MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. The US years-long presence in Afghanistan has failed to normalize the situation in that country, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.
"The situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. The presence of the US and NATO contingent in that country for more than 15 years has failed to bring the situation to normal," the Russian defense minister said at the 7th Moscow conference on international security being held on April 4-5.
According to Shoigu, the US is seeking to "gain foothold in Central Asia on new terms" to have a possibility to spread its influence to the countries adjacent to Afghanistan."
"This does not meet the interests of regional countries and serves as a global destabilizing factor," the Russian defense minister said, adding that a security threat persisted for Russia’s allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
"Afghanistan may become a new shelter not only for militants of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terror grouping outlawed in Russia) but also for other terror groups," Shoigu said.
The 7th Moscow conference on international security that has opened under the aegis of Russia’s Defense Ministry has brought together delegations from 95 countries, including 30 defense ministers, 15 chiefs of General Staff and deputy defense ministers, and also 68 leading foreign experts. One of the conference’s main topics is counteraction to terrorism in Syria.