Lavrov: Afghanistan Not Ready for NATO Forces Pullout

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – The development of the situation in Afghanistan clearly shows that Afghan security forces will not be in position to take control of law and order in the war-torn country after the withdrawal of NATO-led forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which has been fighting the radical Islamist Taliban movement in Afghanistan since 2001, is expected to withdraw from the Central Asian country by the end of 2014, handing over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to local police and military forces.

“The closer the date of withdrawal is, the more evidence we have that Afghan security forces are not going to be ready,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russia Today television on Tuesday.

“There are serious problems in the security sector, there are problems with the Taliban who do not want to get into the national dialogue with the government, who only want to talk to the Americans, which is unacceptable to the [Afghanistan] government for obvious reasons,” the minister said.

Lavrov warned against “playing games” with the Taliban fighters behind the government’s back, saying that it would inevitably lead to a situation where “they would be only interested in taking power one hundred percent, which would be an invitation for another war in Afghanistan.”

He reiterated that a political settlement of the situation in Afghanistan is possible only through dialogue that would include all political, ethnic and religious groups working together to form a government of national unity.

“Unless we have an inclusive process, I’m not very optimistic about any political solution to the situation in Afghanistan,” Lavrov said.


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