Russia's Defence Minister to visit Afghanistan?

Russian Defence Minister does not rule out the possibility of paying a visit to Afghanistan this year. At least, that is what he told Russian journalists during his visit to Norway.

According to Ivanov, he received an invitation to visit Afghanistan long ago, but he thinks the first thing to do is to "prepare the agenda." The minister said the Russian side was ready to meet with the Afghan leadership to discuss the help that both sides think necessary, both on the part of the emergencies ministry and on the part of the defence ministry. For instance, Afghanistan certainly needs aircraft, especially helicopters, so that it could coordinate its efforts and manage troops throughout its vast territory, and that is where the Russian defence ministry comes in.

It is also necessary to help Afghanistan shape an army of its own, noted Ivanov, specifying that he meant personnel training and not delivery of arms and material, of which he said Afghanistan has plenty.

According to his words, the situation in Afghanistan is still "far from normal" and it is too early to say the West's anti-terrorist campaign "has been a success." "International forces control the situation in Kabul only," he stressed, saying they have not yet managed to consolidate their positions in the provinces.

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