MOSCOW, December 19 (Itar-Tass) —— President Vladimir Putin said the upcoming withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan will create additional problems.
“NATO troops are scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan in 2014. This will create additional problems. We all should think about this today,” he said after top-level meetings with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Moscow on Wednesday, December 19.
At a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the heads of state discussed the consequences of the NATO pullout from Afghanistan.
Putin noted that the CSTO summit “reiterated the Organisation’s role as a key element of security in Eurasia”.
In his opinion, serious threats remain for the CSTO member states, primarily illegal drug trafficking.
“Opium production in Afghanistan increased 18 percent last year,” he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier expressed hope that NATO and the CSTO can cooperate in detecting and intercepting drug caravans from Afghanistan.
“We have been suggesting to NATO for a number of years that it cooperate with the CSTO in online mode in order to detect and intercept drug caravans. So far NATO has not been very much responsive, but more than half of individual North Atlantic Alliance members are involved in this operation as observers,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier.
“I hope NATO will change its position shortly,” he added.
“We must not allow Afghanistan to turn again into a hotbed of international terrorism and remain a global narcotic laboratory. The fight against terrorism, extremism and illegal drug trafficking is impossible unless we create conditions for boosting socio-economic development, building developed infrastructure and improving the quality of life,” CSTO Undersecretary-General Gennady Nevyglas said earlier this month.
According to current plans, the United States and NATO intend to withdraw their combat units from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on December 20, 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement. It is engaged in the War in Afghanistan (2001-present).
All NATO members have contributed troops to the ISAF, as well as some other partner states of NATO.