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Russia has been backing from the very outset the mission of ISAF in Afghanistan
Russia has been backing from the very outset the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and it does not want NATO to suffer a fiasco in that country. For its part, Russia has provided the Karzai government “with more than 200 million U.S. dollars worth of weapons and equipment,” Russian Vice-Premier and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told the magazine “Spiegel”, which published the text of the interview with him on Monday. Noting that NATO’s fiasco in Afghanistan would “definitely trouble Russia”, Ivanov admitted that the current situation there “is very much like that of the late eighties, when the Soviet Union was in the Hindukush”. “I am absolutely sure that the security situation there will not improve as long as there is no rigorous control of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he stressed. “We have been backing the ISAF operation from the very outset. We have helped President Hamid Karzai’s government with weapons and equipment worth 200 million U.S. dollars. Many Russian citizens were astonished when we gave the Bundeswehr and also the French free transit across our territory to Afghanistan,” the Russian defence ministers noted. Touching on the problem of combating international terrorism, Ivanov said: “We ran up against terrorism long before September 11 and had to deal with it in Chechnya. I mean the line of instability, which began in Indonesia and extended to the very heart of Europe – to Kosovo. Russia had pointed out already in 1999 that the Talibs could eventually turn into a problem. We were, for several years running, practically the only country, which realised all the acuteness of the problem,” Ivanov stated.
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