The head of Russia’s Union of Afghan Veterans says violence will erupt in Afghanistan if international forces withdraw from the country.
Frants Klintsevich, who served as a colonel during the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, told Reuters that “as soon as the Americans and Europeans leave, the Taliban will crack down on everything.”
Klintsevich, who is also a deputy in the Russian parliament, criticized the United States for failing to draw on Russia’s experience in Afghanistan before launching its war in 2001.
Moscow is still haunted by its disastrous, decade-long campaign in Afghanistan, in which some 15,000 Soviet soldiers died before Moscow pulled out in 1989.
The United States is hoping to begin withdrawing some of its 100,000 troops from Afghanistan beginning in July.
NATO, which oversees all 150,000 foreign troops currently in Afghanistan, is aiming to hand all security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.