Afghanistan still emanates a threat: Russian Defence Minister

The threat emanating from Afghanistan is still there, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told a press conference that followed a session of the Council of Defence Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States /CIS/ in Shchuchinsk, Kazakhstan.

"There are still numeral threats emanating from Afghanistan," he said, "and these are directed not only atRussia and the Central Asian region." "Speaking about the large quantities of drugs coming from Afghanistan, it is a global threat to all countries, European in the first place," he added. "To say nothing of the terrorist training camps and the recent terrorist attacks. We have the whole world community counteracting these." According to his words, Russia keeps struggling with the threats emanating from Afghanistan "in various formats, but mainly in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, bilaterally with Tajikistan, and in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization." In fact, the parties to the latter have agreed to hold joint anti-terrorist exercises involving Russian servicemen in China and Kazakhstan. /The CSTO is an organization uniting Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Armenia. The SCO unites Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan./ Asked about cooperation with the anti-terrorist coalition in Afghanistan in the NATO framework, Ivanov said it was outside the competence of the CIS. Russia was planning to participate in the anti-terrorist struggle in the format of the Russia-NATO Council, given that command over the aforementioned coalition would be taken over by NATO this fall, he said.

He underlined that Russia was not considering sending its soldiers to Afghanistan even theoretically.

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