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Russian Pundit Views Importance Of NATO Possible Defeat In Afghanistan

Afghanistan Poppy Field and Local MenMoscow, 31 January: More active cooperation between Russia and NATO in resolving the Afghanistan problem may change radically relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance, from those of confrontational to those of alliance, Aleksey Arbatov, head of the Centre for International Security of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes.

"For NATO the operation in Afghanistan was a touchstone, and in this case the stakes are extremely high. At present 99 per cent of forces and resources of the North Atlantic Alliance are geared towards the Afghan operation. Therefore if NATO fails and leaves that country and if the Taleban returns to power, the alliance will suffer an absolutely crushing blow," Arbatov said on Monday (31 January). He said this during a Moscow-Berlin television bridge at RIA-Novosti under the title "The role and place of Russia in common Euro-Atlantic security" on the eve of the 47th Munich conference on security to be held in Germany on 4-6 February.

At the same time the expert believes that a failure of NATO will be an even greater blow to Russia than for the alliance. "It would be a political defeat for NATO whereas Russia will have to face up to this threat on its own. After coming to power the Taleban won't stop at the Afghan borders. Russia will have to confront them directly in Central Asia, then in Kazakhstan and later, perhaps, in North Caucasus and Siberia," he thinks. "That's why the Afghanistan problem is the most important common interest for both Russia and NATO, one that can become central not simply for interaction but for military cooperation," Arbatov thinks. (Passage omitted)

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Russia, NATO - Russia, Central Asia, Afghanistan - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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