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    Afghan border police stand guard near the Torkham crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Nangarhar province on May 12, 2016.

    Afghanistan Favors Deeper Cooperation With Russia on Security Issues

    © AFP 2017/ NOORULLAH SHIRZADA
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    Afghanistan's top diplomat said Kabul sought deeper security cooperation with Moscow.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said Tuesday that Afghanistan wanted deeper cooperation with Russia on a range of security challenges.

    "We are in favor of further deepening of our bilateral relations" Rabbani said on Tuesday during the talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

    The Afghan foreign minister added that there were a number of topics to be discussed, including the global challenges such as terrorism and drug trafficking as well as a number of bilateral cooperation matters.

    "We are interested in increasing oil imports from Russia," Rabbani said.

    Earlier in the day, Rabbani who is on official visit to Russia, said that there were a number of topics to be discussed with Lavrov, including the global challenges such as terrorism and drug trafficking as well as a number of bilateral cooperation matters.

    Russia has been Afghanistan's largest supplier of refined petroleum over the years, contributing to roughly half of its imports. However, the value of such imports has been declining due to fall of oil prices with over $580 million in 2012 and just $233 million in 2014.

    Afghan FM Praises Progress in Technical-Military Cooperation With Russia

    Military-technical cooperation between Afghanistan and Russia is on the rise, Moscow provides Kabul with needed training and equipment in the fight against terrorism, Rabbani said.

    "We were discussing progress in our technical-military cooperation. We thanked Russia for the training and equipping support as our forces need it to battle transnational terrorist organizations," he said.

    He added that the military-technical agreement recently signed by the defense ministers of the two states would "further strengthen military to military cooperation."

    The agreement has been reached in December and includes maintenance of Russian hardware adopted by the Afghan armed forces. The Afghan armed forces have Russian helicopters, including Mi-17, as well as old Mi-24s supplied from India.

    Rabbani also thanked Russia for condolences over the death of people along the Afghan-Pakistani border after three days of heavy snowfall caused a series of deadly avalanches Sunday.

    "We agreed to increase cooperation at and through the multilateral platforms including the United Nations and other international organizations," he added.

    Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with government forces fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency. The instability has persisted in the country since the 2001 US-led invasion to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The lack of control and instability turned the country into home to the largest opium poppy production and distribution network in the world.

    According to the concept of the Russian foreign policy adopted in 2016, Russia seeks cooperation with Afghanistan as well as international platforms such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in order to solve economic and security problems of Afghanistan as soon as possible.

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    Tags:
    military-technical cooperation, Oil, United Nations, Salahuddin Rabbani, Sergei Lavrov, Afghanistan, Russia
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