Hamid Karzai advises U.S. to ask Russia and China for help to combat terror in Afghanistan

The United States is suffering setbacks in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and should ask Russia and China for help, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said.

The U.S. and its allies should frankly speak of the problems they have encountered in terms of combating terrorism, Karzai told a press conference on Thursday.

If it is a failure, they ought to ask Russia and China for help, he said. But if it is not a failure, they need to explain why extremism and attacks continue, Afghanistan's ex-president said.

Afghanistan is grateful to the United States for its socioeconomic assistance, Karzai said. Afghanistan, however, is not content with the results of the U.S. military involvement in the country, he said. This involvement has not brought security to the Afghan people, who continue to die and lose their property, he added.

Moscow positively took former Afghan President Hamid Karzai's proposal that Russia should be actively involved in combating extremism in Afghanistan, including the Islamic State, but it rules out that Russian military servicemen could be deployed in the country, Russian special presidential representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said.

"Hamid Karzai's idea deserves attention, and our president's and foreign minister's reaction was positive. No details of possible parameters and areas of cooperation were discussed. This is a subject for a conversation between experts, which will surely take place," Kabulov told Interfax on Thursday in commenting on outcomes of Karzai's visit to Russia and his meetings with the Russian president and foreign minister.

Asked whether it was theoretically possible that Russia could send its troops to Afghanistan, Kabulov replied, "The matter is not about sending troops. I've said repeatedly that there is no need to send foreign troops to Afghanistan, not to mention Russian ones. There are more soldiers and other people who can handle weapons in Afghanistan per capita than in any other country. It's necessary to help Afghanistan and its government, the normal people, so that they be able to deal with this problem," he said.

The essence of Karzai's ideas is that Russia, along with China, India and other countries of the region, should combine their efforts with Afghanistan "not only to deter this phenomenon but also help the Afghanis to eradicate it," he said.

Asked whether Russia could train Afghan security forces, Kabulov said, "For a state and its armed forces to be efficient, it's not necessary to train officers and supply weapons. The provision of support should be multifaceted. This concerns the economy, social matters - in other words, something that the SCO is capable of doing. It's about a comprehensive solution to the problem."

"Any army leaning on the state's powerful material basis can very easily turn into an armed gang. Therefore, the matter is about strengthening the potential, including the antiterrorist potential, of Afghanistan itself," Kabulov said.

Read more: RBTH multimedia feature on the scars and relics of the Soviet past and the new role for Russia in Afghanistan

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