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No preconditions for Russian military presence in Afghanistan, says security chief
There are no preconditions for Russia’s military presence in Afghanistan and the situation in this country must be settled by means of a peaceful dialogue, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev told Izvestia daily.
"There are no preconditions [for Russian military presence in Afghanistan]," he said. "We will focus on the political and diplomatic efforts regarding Afghanistan and will be looking for ways of establishing an inter-Afghani dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the existing problems in the country jointly with our partners."
The Russian security chief said that a format of consultations on Afghanistan in Moscow had been established some time ago an "it is successfully operating."
"Moreover, we are attaching great significance to the coordinating role of the United Nations regarding the international efforts on the Afghanistan issue settlement," Patrushev continued.
According to him, Russia is ready to hold a dialogue with Afghani authorities, which are respectful of the will of people and seek to build a flourishing country.
"Russia is interested to see peaceful, united and developing Afghanistan, which poses no threat to the region," Patrushev said. "We are ready for a dialogue with the authorities, which will be proceeding from the will of people, will be following the aspirations of their people and will be working on turning Afghanistan into a normally operational, strong and flourishing country."
Russia has already reinvigorated its contacts with security councils, military and special services of the countries neighboring on Afghanistan, primarily with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, according to Patrushev.
"We have reinvigorated contacts at the level of security councils, military and special services with the countries located near Afghanistan, first of all, with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as with China, Iran, India and Pakistan," he said.
The situation in Afghanistan, he continued, is in the focus of the Russian Security Council.
"It will be the main issue at the next session of the permanent Security Council members," Patrushev said. "We will be discussing extra measures to provide stability in the region."
Clashes between the Afghan government troops and the Taliban radical militant group (outlawed in Russia) intensified after US President Joe Biden announced a decision on April 14 to wrap up the operation in Afghanistan that had been the longest overseas military campaign in the US history. The United States started the troop withdrawal in May.
On August 15, the Taliban swept into Kabul without any resistance and took complete control of the Afghan capital within hours. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to avoid bloodshed and fled the country. Western nations are evacuating their citizens and embassies.
The head of the Russian Security Council also said that the earlier provided data of about 40,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan in the last 20 years was understated.
"This country [Afghanistan] raised a generation of people, who don’t know how to live without being in a permanent state of fear," he said. "According to the very modest and obviously understated figures, over 40,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan over the past 20 years and this number does not include tens of thousands of killed government troops."
"This is the result of the US interference in domestic affairs of other countries," Patrushev added.
[Source: Tass, Moscow, 19Aug21]
War in Afghanistan & Iraq
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