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FM: Withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan unlikely to make situation critical

After the International Security Assistance Force leaves Afghanistan this year the situation will be more complicated but not critical, Russian presidential special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"I think that the scenario when Russia withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in 1989 would not repeat," said Kabulov, who is also director of the Russian Foreign Ministry 2nd Asia Department.

At the same time, the high-ranking diplomat said, "We'd prefer no collapses. We'd like Americans, who entered there with our consent and support, to fight drug trafficking and neutralize terrorism's bases."

After the coalition troops leave Afghanistan nine US military bases will stay. "An agreement has not been signed yet. Afghan President Hamid Karzai sets forth well-known conditions. Otherwise he refuses to sign the document if Washington ignores the conditions," Kabulov said.

"We don't insist Americans be pulled out. We want them to do their best to make Afghanistan a sustainable state with a viable economy," the diplomat said.

"It's rather difficult to predict the situation, but we hope that the Taliban movement doesn't come and seize power," Kabulov said.

"We don't want Afghanistan to return to civil war. Thus, the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) partners and we will do our best to help Afghanistan settle the situation," the high-ranking diplomat said, adding "The problem should be solved through national reconciliation and not through military confrontation."

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 19Feb14]

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