(MOSCOW) — Moscow is at odds again with Washington, this time over the planned withdrawal of virtually all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by no later than the end of 2014.
Interviewed on Russia Today television, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the coalition is making a big mistake in thinking that Afghanistan’s military and police are prepared to handle the Taliban on their own.
Lavrov remarked, “The closer the date of withdrawal is, the more evidence we have that Afghan security forces are not going to be ready.”
Russia is concerned that if Afghanistan becomes destabilized, it would threaten their own national interests.
Meanwhile, Lavrov was critical of the ongoing peace process to end the 12-year war — or actually, the lack of progress.
The foreign minister warned that any bilateral deal between the U.S. and the Taliban that cuts out the Afghan government “would be an invitation for another war in Afghanistan.”
A diplomatic solution would only be achieved through involvement of all political, ethnic and religious parties, Lavrov said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN