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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora