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KABUL, December 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Afghanistan asks Russia to help with infrastructure projects and security ensuring, Chairman of the Afghan National Assembly's lower house Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said on Tuesday when meeting with the speaker of the Russian parliament's lower house State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, who is on a working visit here.
Relations between the two countries have long history, and from the very beginning after Afghanistan gained independence, Russia provided help for the country in economy, security and culture, the Afghan politician said.
The proposal of members of the organization to set up a security committee for protection of borders of member states is interesting, but Afghanistan proposes to concentrate the efforts to ensure security in Afghanistan to guarantee security for member states as well as Afghanistan, Ibrahimi noted.
Cooperation between Russia and Afghanistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to fight terrorism and extremism and cooperation of Afghanistan, Russia and the European Commission to fight drug traffic is vital necessity to ensure security in the region, he noted.
Since Afghanistan’s economy depends on world economy and it limits the possibility to meet social needs of the population, it is necessary to implement infrastructure projects to improve the rate of incomes of the population, the Afghan speaker noted. Afghanistan asks Russia to help implement infrastructure projects and projects in the mining sector that are left uncompleted from the previous periods of the country's history, he said.
Among such projects are reconstruction of the Salang tunnel, construction of the second Salang tunnel and grants for Afghan students. Afghanistan hopes Russia will give preferences to Afghan businessmen to develop trade ties between the two countries and promote Afghanistan’s development.
Afghanistan is at an important historic stage at present. Presidential elections will be held in the country next April. The process of transfer of responsibility from the International Security Assistance Force to the Afghanistan’s national army and police and the withdrawal of foreign troops will be completed soon. In this connection, Ibrahimi expressed concern that Afghan security forces would be faced with new challenges, including possible interference of neighboring countries in Afghanistan's internal affairs. In terms of the balance of forces in the region, the Afghan security forces have not reached the appropriate level, and friendly Russia is expected to render aid in the formation of Afghan police and fulfill the promises given in this connection, the speaker said.
Ibrahimi also expressed interest in development of inter-parliamentary ties between the two countries.
Russian lower house speaker Naryshkin noted the Russian delegation had arrived in Kabul in accordance with the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly's decision to receive firsthand information about the situation in the country. "We hope for development of the inter-parliamentary ties, exchange of experience in legislative activities, parliamentary support for the project of economic and humanitarian cooperation and our mutual consultations at international grounds," he said.
The Russian politician expressed satisfaction with the active participation of Afghan parliament representatives in the work of the CSTO PA. The fact that Afghanistan has received the status of an observer is indicative of the CSTO's higher authority and activity of Afghan legislators in discussion of regional security problems, he believes. Such cooperation is particularly important in light of the forthcoming withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force and the forthcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan, Naryshkin noted.
Observers note the State Duma chairman's visit to Afghanistan is the first on such a high level in many years.