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Afghanistan Considers Russia Key Regional Ally: Atmar

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Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar on Friday met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

The two sides talked about the expansion of political relations, common strategy for fighting against terrorism and the effective implementation of regional projects.

During the meeting, Atmar said Kabul considers Moscow a key regional ally, adding Russia cooperation and partnership in the fight against terrorism as a joint regional threat is very important.

“Russia and Afghanistan has important and common interests,” said NSA Atmar,” our cooperation is important in counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, peace and reconciliation as well as our economical cooperation.”

Russia Foreign Minister also reaffirmed his country’s support with Afghanistan and said Russia was supporting Afghan government policies for peace process.

“It is very important for us to continue talking about ways to promote national reconciliation in Afghanistan. In recent months, we have taken a whole number of active moves in cooperation with Afghanistan and key outside players. We are planning additional steps in this direction, and we hope to mobilize the will of the international community to move along this path,” said Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at his opening remarks.

Lavrov added that Russia would remain fully in favor of developing further cooperation with Afghanistan in the trade, economic and humanitarian spheres and in helping strengthen the combat capability of the Afghan forces.

Atmar left Kabul for Moscow on Friday. He first met his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev where the two sides also conferred on the war against terrorism, the Afghan peace process and security and political relations between the two countries.

The visit comes after reports emerged about Russia contacts and support with the Afghan Taliban which the country said contacts aimed at encouraging the group to join the Afghan government initiated peace process.

Later on Moscow organized a tripartite meeting on the subject late December where it only invited Pakistan and China. The dialogue raised strong reaction and protest from the Kabul government for being left out of it.

The country hosted a second round of talks mid February with representatives from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and India and is planning to involve the United States and other Central Asian countries in the next round of talks.

By: Hesamuddin Hesam

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