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Borrell’s call for curbing Russian influence in Afghanistan shows his incompetence

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s calls for containing Russia’s and China’s influence in Afghanistan reveals his incompetence on this matter, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview with the Kommersant daily.

"Before commenting on these words, we need to cover the nuts and bolts," he said. "The matter is that Russia not only voted for the resolution on the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, it offered its assistance to this force. In particular, transit agreements were signed with the states, which had the biggest contingents in Afghanistan. First of all, with the United States," he explained.

According to the Russian senior diplomat, key cooperation projects on the European track used to be implemented via the Russia-NATO Council. "EU structures sometimes tend to draw a division line between themselves and NATO but the absolute majority of European Union member nations are members of the North Atlantic Alliance and there are no division lines between them on many matters," he stressed. "Anyway, about 4,000 officers for anti-drug services in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Central Asian states were trained at a Russian base as part of a Russia-NATO Council project."

He also recalled a project on maintaining Russian-made helicopters, supplying spare parts to them and training technical personnel. "Its usefulness is obvious. It was recognized by all, including the United States," Grushko noted. "And we did it not out of altruism but because we were guided by our own national interests."

But these projects were rolled back by NATO after the Ukrainian developments in 2014. "The Alliance wrecked all the cooperation format, including on Afghanistan. And in the long run it was the Afghans who had to pay the price for this geopolitical game, which has nothing to do with the interests of security," he stressed.

[Source: Tass, Moscow, 22Aug21]

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