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Situation in Afghanistan would be worse without US troops, Putin points out

According to Putin, Russia and the US "have complex relationship, but they must approach the subject objectively"

MOSCOW, December 25./TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin urged objectivity on Monday, saying that the situation in Afghanistan would be worse without the presence of US troops in the country.

"Indeed, it [the situation with terrorist threat in Afghanistan] has worsened, it is true, it keeps deteriorating," Putin told a meeting with the parliamentary leadership.

"But if the US were not there, it would probably be worse," the president said. Russia and the US "have complex relationship, but we must approach the subject objectively," Putin said.

He said that Taliban gunmen are stationed practically along the whole border between Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. However, encouraging signals are also seen in spite of everything, Putin stressed. "I spoke with the president of Turkmenistan today, and he reiterated his plans to build a gas transmission system across Afghanistan and further to its neighbors - Pakistan and India," Putin said.

"He invites us to participate. Generally, certain projects are indeed implemented there, and quite successfully, including by Turkmenistan. But we must take a look, of course, at how feasible projects of this kind will be," the president noted.

The appearance in Afghanistan of Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) militants that have already begun confrontation with Taliban is an alarming factor, Putin said. "This additionally worsens the situation there," the president stressed.