Russian President’s Envoy Criticizes NATO Operation in Afghanistan, Warns Against Contacts With Taliban
MosNews – November 30, 2006
Anatoliy Safonov, special representative of the Russian president for combating terrorism, believes NATO’s operation in Afghanistan is not effective and warns the international coalition against flirting with the Taleban, the Interfax news agency reports.
“Russia has repeatedly said that the operation and specific steps with regard to the operation are not very effective,” he told Russian journalists in Moscow today.
Safonov has stressed that from the very beginning Russia did not agree with certain aspects of the operation in Afghanistan, and in particular, with the fact that the international contingent “has no mandate, nor desire to combat drugs in Afghanistan”.
“They (members of the alliance) are saying this is not their business because there is a risk of complicating relations with the local population even further. But we believe this is a dead end,” Safonov said.
He added that the international coalition’s other mistake was its attempt to establish contacts with the Taleban movement.
“We disagreed that emphasis should be put on reconciliation with the Taleban and on flirting with them,” the Russian presidential envoy said. According to him, sadly, Western partners did not listen to this and this has led to the current alarming consequences.
“The Taleban is raising its head and in some places it has simply taken over completely,” Safonov said.
He also noted a connection between events in Afghanistan and Iraq. “We have said if the Iraqi front is launched without having sorted out the Afghan front properly, these two sources (of terrorism) will merge,” Safonov said.
According to him, the forecast has come true. “The tactics of blasts and terrorism which did not exist in Afghanistan have come there now, whereas the experience of Afghanistan is flowing over to Iraq,” Safonov believes.
Last updated 01/12/2006