UN, September 21 (RIA Novosti)
- NATO Afghan Bases Past 2014 'Controversial' - Lavrov
- Post-2014 U.S. Military Presence in Afghanistan ‘Needs Clarification’
- NATO May Stay in Afghanistan after 2014 - Pszel
- 2014 UN Afghan Withdrawal Not Artificial Term - Lavrov
- No permanent bases in Afghanistan after 2014 - U.S. ambassador
- Lavrov Concerned over U.S. Plans to Keep Afghan Bases
Russia wants to know what is the purpose of foreign military bases that will remain in Afghanistan after the completion of the U.S.-led antiterrorism operation in 2014, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said.
“Contradictory statements that foreign troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014, but the foreign military bases will remain there raise a number of questions,” Churkin said.
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) plans to hand over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to the Afghan leadership by the end of 2014, as decided at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon.
Churkin said that if the antiterrorism operation was completed in Afghanistan then the purpose to keep foreign military bases there would be different and Russia wanted to know the aim for maintaining the bases.
“If the fight against terrorism continues [after 2014], the UN Security Council will have to extend the mandate for this operation,” the diplomat added.
The international coalition in Afghanistan has lost more than 330 troops killed so far in 2012, according to ISAF information. The foreign troop contingents are scheduled to withdraw by the end of 2014.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.