KABUL - Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, in an interview with Russia Today Television on Tuesday said that the situation in Afghanistan clearly indicates that Afghan security forces would not be able to effectively assume control of the security responsibilities after the NATO-led forces withdraw from the country at the end of 2014.
"The closer the date of withdrawal is, the more evidence we have that Afghan security forces are not going to be ready," said Mr. Lavrov.
"There are serious problems in the security sector, there are problems with the Taliban who do not want to get into the national dialogue with the government, who only want to talk to the Americans, which is unacceptable to the (Afghan) government for obvious reasons," he said.
He warned against "playing games" with the Taliban fighters behind the government's back, saying that it would lead to a situation where "they would be only interested in taking power, which would be an invitation for another war in Afghanistan."
The comments from the Russian Foreign Minister came in after Dr. Zalmai Rasoul, the former Afghan Foreign Minister, while speaking at the 68th United Nations (UN) Security Council General Assembly meeting in New York said that extremism would remain a constant threat for Afghanistan.
Dr. Rasoul, in contrast to the Russian dignitary, told members of the UN that although Afghanistan is ready to take charge of security responsibilities from the foreign troops.
"Considering that 12 years is not a very long time in the history of a country, especially a country like Afghanistan, that has gone through more than 35 years of war and destruction, these achievements and gains are nothing short of a historic transformation," said Dr. Rasoul.
He said that the development of the Afghan military and police is underway and they would be ready to witness the final withdrawal of foreign troops.
There are around 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, out of which around 68,000 are Americans.
Foreign forces are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014 with the end of the NATO combat mission, after which time the Afghan security forces – currently numbering at around 300,000 men – will take over full security responsibility of the country.
Nevertheless, according to NATO and Afghan officials, the Afghan security forces have assumed the bulk of leadership on operations throughout the country already. (Tolo News)