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Russia does not want NATO to fail in Afghanistan - envoy


MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will be concerned if NATO fails to secure victory in Afghanistan as it, along with its Central Asian allies, will be forced to deal with the consequences, Russia's NATO envoy told Russia's Vesti TV channel on Friday.

"... this is of course not our [Russia's] war, but we require that NATO not only conducts its military operations, but also tackles drug production, the narco-mafia and understands the current fiasco in Afghanistan is not to our liking, because if NATO leaves after breaking all the plates, then we and our Central Asian allies will have to clean up the mess," Dmitry Rogozin said.

The envoy also said U.S. President Barack Obama planned to send thousands more troops into the country as part of a new Afghan strategy to try and reverse an increase in Taliban insurgency.

"According to our intelligence reports, the Taliban are also preparing to meet the challenge of Obama's new strategy," he said, adding that if this happens then the war will spiral.

The Taliban regime was ousted by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, but the Central Asian state has experienced a rise in violence in recent years, with skirmishes and suicide attacks being reported daily.

Rogozin said although Russia is cooperating with NATO with non-military cargoes, it needed to create a backup just in case and pointed to a recent decision to establish a CSTO rapid-reaction force in Central Asia.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, agreed in early February to set up the force to deal with emergency situations.

The rapid-reaction force, which Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier said "will be just as good as comparable NATO forces," will be used to repulse military aggression, conduct anti-terrorist operations, fight transnational crime and drug trafficking, and neutralize the effects of natural disasters.

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