Friday, November 18, 2011

Russia against US bases in Afghanistan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Source: Press TV

Russia has voiced strong opposition to the US military presence in Afghanistan and Washington's plans to set up large military bases in the Asian country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday expressed Moscow's disapproval of the permanent deployment of United States military bases in Afghanistan and in Central Asia, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We do not understand how the proposed withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan squares with US plans to set up major military bases in Afghanistan,” Lavrov said.

The senior Russian official noted that Moscow has discussed the issue with Afghan and US authorities, but "there are more questions than answers so far.”

“Moreover, information comes in periodically that our American colleagues want to expand their military presence in Central Asia," Lavrov noted.

Meanwhile, loya jirga spokeswoman Safia Sediqi said on Thursday that Washington wants a complete media blackout over the conditions set in its strategic long-term deal with Kabul.

The loya jirga, called by President Hamid Karzai, kicked off in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday. The four-day traditional gathering discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, and is mainly centered on long-term US bases in Afghanistan after US-led foreign troops withdraw in 2014.

Afghan religious and political figures have voiced strong opposition to US plans to set up long-term or permanent military bases in the war-torn country.

The United States has failed to achieve its goals after 10 years of war in Afghanistan. Many parts of the Asian country still remain insecure despite the presence of nearly 150,000 US-led foreign forces there.

Experts believe Washington's new strategy of establishing long-term military bases will only serve to raise anti-US sentiment among Afghans and neighboring countries.

Afghan people are against the plan, dismissing it as a ploy for indefinite neo-colonial occupation.

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