News / Europe

Putin: Russia Needs Stronger Defense Against Afghan Threats

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, April 25, 2013
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, April 25, 2013
Reuters
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia must beef up its defenses in the south and work with Central Asian allies to protect itself and neighbors against the threat of extremist violence emerging from Afghanistan.

Russia, which backed the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, has voiced concern that threats to its security could increase following the planned withdrawal of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Putin told a meeting of his Security Council that U.S. and NATO-led forces "have not yet achieved a breakthrough in the fight against terrorist and radical groups'' in Afghanistan and that these groups have become more active recently.

"We need to strengthen the security system in the strategic southern area, including its military component,'' Putin said. Russia, he said, must work with fellow members of two regional security alliances, one of which includes China.

"There is every reason to believe that in the near future we may face a worsening of the situation. International terrorist and radical groups do not hide their plans to export instability,'' said Putin.

He further said "international forces have done practically nothing to root out drug production in Afghanistan'' and ignored Russian proposals, apparently referring to its calls for more efforts to eradicate crops of poppies used to make heroin.

A drug user injects heroin into his hand on a staircase in an apartment block in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 14, 2010.A drug user injects heroin into his hand on a staircase in an apartment block in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 14, 2010.
x
A drug user injects heroin into his hand on a staircase in an apartment block in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 14, 2010.
A drug user injects heroin into his hand on a staircase in an apartment block in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 14, 2010.
Russia is one of the world's largest per capita consumers of heroin, with addiction and death from drugs and AIDS from needle-sharing contributing to a decline in the population since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin said Russia, which is separated geographically from Afghanistan by the ex-Soviet states of Central Asia, should step up migration controls on its southern border and "exponentially increase the effectiveness of work to stem drug trafficking.''

Regional readiness

He said the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), an alliance of six former Soviet republics including three in Central Asia, should speed up efforts to better arm and equip a rapid-reaction force that had done little so far.

Russia has contributed some 12,000 paratroopers to the CSTO, according to Alexander Golts, a Moscow-based military expert.

But he said Russian security efforts faced difficulties including a lack of participation in the CSTO by Uzbekistan, which is the most powerful of the three Central Asian nations bordering Afghanistan but has suspended membership in the CSTO.

Russia has an air base in Kyrgyzstan and more than 6,000 soldiers in Tajikistan, its largest deployment abroad.

But Tajikistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan, has not yet ratified an October agreement extending Russia's  lease on the base where the troops are stationed beyond the end of this year.

Russian border guards used to patrol the Tajik frontier with Afghanistan but left in 2005. Turkmenistan, the other ex-Soviet republic that borders Afghanistan, calls itself neutral and shuns alliances.

Putin said the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia and China as well as the Central Asian states of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, should be involved in efforts to improve security, but gave no details.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs