ASTANA, January 31. /ITAR-TASS/. A stabilization program should precede the withdrawal of the international coalition’s forces from Afghanistan, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told a news briefing following a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Adilbek Jaksybekov Friday.
Joint training of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) forces planned for 2014 will be greater in scale and more application-oriented than before, he said, adding there were certain threats which “we need to make sure we are ready to tackle.” The pullout of the main part of coalition forces from Afghanistan due this year is high on the list of such risks. This prospect, he said, was worrisome, and “quite a serious stabilization program” was needed to precede the withdrawal.
As for the meeting with his Kazakh counterpart, Shoigu said they discussed a number of key issues, including the further use and development of the Balkhash test range in the Karaganda Region, as well as test sites in Russia, and air defense cooperation.