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United States and its allies to provide 16 bln dollar financial aid to Afghanistan

July 09, 2012, 13:20 UTC+3
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The United States and its allies will provide a 16 billion dollar financial aid to Afghanistan until 2017 – delegates to the international donor conference in Tokyo on Sunday agreed on this measure. Russia will not invest in Afghanistan’s aid pool, but will help the international coalition to leave that country.

Leading western powers promised to extend 16 billion dollars to Kabul as a financial aid, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. This statement approved at the Tokyo conference was preceded by Washington’s decision to grant a major non-NATO ally’ status to Afghanistan. This status means that Afghanistan will get privileges such as an access to military equipment, but does not presuppose that Americans should protect it.

The daily emphasized that Iraq, from where the U.S. withdrew its troops last year, received no such status.

The head of the Afghanistan sector of Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Viktor Korgun, quoted by the daily believes that by taking this measure the U.S. “creates a legal basis for its geostrategic plans in the region.” “In particular, they envision that the U.S. creates its military infrastructure in Afghanistan. It will spread northwards. The bases are being built in Mazari-Sharif and Kunduz,” he said. “Afghanistan became a source of troubles for Americans. On the one hand, a new status will allow the U.S. to continue dictating its conditions and on the other hand – will simplify the withdrawal of the main part of NATO’s troops in 2014.”

Russia was represented at the conference by the president’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, Kommersant reported. Initially, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov should have visited Tokyo. But it appears that he refused to take part in the forum for the same reasons that forced him to skip the conference on Afghanistan that took place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Chicago in May. Moscow has already been unsuccessfully for five-six years asking NATO to allow it to participate in regular meetings of contributors to the International Security Assistance Force that take place in Brussels.

Russia is not a country contributing troops to ISAF, but it provides its territory for the transit of the coalition’s cargoes. “We believe that our contribution to ISAF is no less than a contribution of those countries that sent to Afghanistan two officers to the headquarters and for this reason have the right to take part in meetings of countries contributing troops to ISAF. This is unfair,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

However, Russia had no plans to invest money in Afghanistan’s aid pool. The daily found out that NATO hoped that Russia would inject 10 million dollars, but Zamir Kabulov said Moscow preferred to interact with Kabul on the international basis.

But the things are much better with cooperation in transit of the coalition’s cargoes. Nikolai Korchunov, Russia’s acting envoy to NATO, said on Friday at the meeting in Brussels Russia exchanged letters with NATO representatives on extending the transit of non-hazardous cargoes for the international forces in Afghanistan through Russia’s territory. The transit of cargo will be carried out by plane, train and car. 

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