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Defence Minister: Russia sceptical about Western optimism over Afghanistan

April 01, 2014, 18:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“We do not share the West’s optimism about the chances of stabilising the situation in Afghanistan,” Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says
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Sergei Shoigu

Sergei Shoigu

© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s top military official has voiced concern over the border situation after the NATO-led coalition leaves Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan can hardly counter Islamic extremism on its own,” Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told a ministerial meeting of member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Tuesday.

“We do not share the West’s optimism about the chances of stabilising the situation in Afghanistan following continued actions by international terrorist and Islamic extremist organisations,” he said.

“The armed opposition is stepping up actions in the areas where responsibility has been handed over to national law enforcers and military. We believe that terrorist groups will be building up near Russia’s borders, too,” Shoigu said.

“Afghanistan-US cooperation remains uncertain. Washington continues putting pressures on Kabul in order to make it sign a security and defence agreement on US terms,” he said.

Shoigu called for exerting efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking.

“This will be a serious contribution to fighting terrorism that receives financing from drug business,” Shoigu said.

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