MOSCOW - The Russian envoy to NATO warned the alliance against setting artificial deadlines in Afghanistan unless a responsible security transfer is ensured.
Nikolay Korchunov, the Russian envoy, said the transfer of duties from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghan forces is a serious operation that has no margin of error.
"In our opinion, it would not be totally correct to set any artificial timeframe for soldiers' withdrawal until the Afghan side is capable of maintaining security in its state on its own," he was quoted by Russian news agency RT as saying.
NATO members in Portugal in 2010 agreed to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan by 2014 as international forces focused on training national troops. Some alliance members have expressed reservations about the timetable given the rise of attacks by Afghan soldiers on international forces.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said the transition process in Afghanistan was "proceeding the way we expected it to" despite the attacks.
Korchunov said the security situation in Afghanistan is likely "not that bad." When Soviet forces left the country in 1989, he said, the government in Kabul managed to stay in power for another three years.
Moscow in 1992 ended its support for Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah. He was executed by the Taliban in 1996.
NATO defense ministers meet next week in Brussels. (UPI)