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UNITED NATIONS, March 17. /TASS/. Russia hopes that NATO’s new assistance and training mission in Afghanistan will be more capable of dealing with the tasks it faces than the US-led international force that formally ended its combat mission in December, a senior Russian diplomat said on Monday.
Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said at a meeting of the UN Security Council that after more than 13 years of the international contingent presence in Afghanistan, the situation in the region remained "extremely difficult" and was characterised by growing insurgent activities and civilian casualties.
According to the United Nations, combined civilian deaths in Afghanistan surpassed 10,000 in 2014, Safronkov recalled, noting that the International Security Assistance Force mission, endorsed by the UN Security Council, therefore, failed to fulfil its mandate. Neither did the mission present a complete report on its work during the 13-year presence in Afghanistan, he said.
Safronkov said Russia expected the new NATO support mission, named Resolute Support, to "act in a more responsible way", adding that under a resolution adopted in December, the UN Security Council would closely monitor the mission’s work.
The diplomat told the council Moscow was concerned about "the rise of the terrorist threat" in Afghanistan and "the broadening of the Islamic State group's geographical activities which are spreading a radical Islam".
While urging council members’ action against the terrorist group's growing influence, Safronkov said Russia was particularly worried about "increasingly frequent reports of the worsening situation in the north of Afghanistan", in areas bordering Russia’s allies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), uniting former Soviet republics.
He said extremists in the north "are actively engaging in propaganda activities and recruiting, and are setting up camp", noting that those developments were "categorically unacceptable".
At Monday’s meeting, the Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the UN mission in Afghanistan for another year, until March 17, 2016, and at the request of Kabul ordered to reconsider the work of the mission in the country.
Safronkov said Moscow respected the proposal and welcomed the Afghan authorities’ readiness to take matters into their own hands and strengthen the country’s "sovereignty and independence in all spheres".