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Karzai seeks Moscow’s proactive role in curbing terrorism

“Russia is Afghanistan’s neighbor. What happens in Afghanistan has a direct influence on Russia,” says the former president

KABUL: Ex-President Hamid Karzai has urged Russia for counter-terrorism role in the region to deal with the emerging and existing security threats.

Speaking the other day in Moscow, the capital city of Russia, the former Afghan president said that Russian leadership should roll up sleeves and play role for stability and security of Afghanistan.

The Moscow Times quoted Karzai as saying, “Russia is a neighbor of Afghanistan. What happens in Afghanistan has a direct influence on Russia.” He said that a strong Russia was very important for Afghanistan’s stability, adding that collapse of the Soviet Union has left a security vacuum in his country which was filled by “hostile forces”.

Regarding Russia’s role in the current political developments, the former president said that Moscow was left with no choice but to take part in the anti-terror war. Karzai said that developments in Afghanistan had a direct impact on Russia, and the two neighboring countries were facing the same threat—terrorism. “Countering extremism in Afghanistan – is in the interests of both countries… the distant United States and Russia, which also cannot remain aloof,” Karzai was quoted by RIR.

Collective regional efforts could bring peace and stability to the region. Extremism could be eliminated if all the nations in the region join hands, Karzai said, adding that Afghanistan could achieve stability if powerful neighbors of the war-devastated country, including Russia, China and India, become involved in the process.

Karzai said that the United States and NATO has failed in providing security to Afghan people. “The invasion has not helped the Afghans. The US and its allies must speak frankly and tell that why they have failed. They must also tell that why the attacks continue. They [the US and its NATO partners] should seek the support of countries such as Russia and China, which can make a difference,” he said.

Regarding relations between Afghanistan and Russia, Karzai told news reporters that ties between the two countries were growing rapidly. “We have entered a new sort of relationship with Russia,” the former Afghan president said. On the occasion he also reiterated his support for Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 2014.

The veteran politician also thanked Moscow for supporting his country’s bid to achieve observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security bloc in Asia mostly composed of Central Asian countries. He said that Afghanistan would seek full member status of the SCO.

This year’s SCO summit will be hosted by Russian Federation next month (July) in the city of Ufa.

Karzai met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and discussed mutual issues of interests, with more emphasized on terrorism, extremism, emergence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, stability and security of Afghanistan and role of the neighboring countries in Afghan peace process.

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