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Putin Calls for Continued US Presence in Afghanistan

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is beneficial for overall security.

“Initially, we backed US forces’ presence in Afghanistan and earlier voted in favor of a respective UN Security Council resolution. I still believe that US presence in Afghanistan does not run counter to our external interests,” Putin said in an interview with “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” program on Rossiya-1 TV channel.

“On the contrary, when it was announced that the Americans are preparing to withdraw their military contingent – yes, our official position is that maybe this creates additional conditions for a kind of Afghan reconciliation – but I personally think that this creates many risks,” Putin said.
“First, we will have to spend more to maintain stability and second, no matter what, still US presence in Afghanistan contributes to stability in the country and their exit creates risks,” the Russian leader explained. “We don’t have to fight against the Americans’ presence there.”

Putin noted that the two countries’ special services continued working in this direction. “We are cooperating with the US despite numerous contradictions on a lot of areas, still cooperation at the level of special services is underway,” he said. In particular, this is cooperation on de-conflicting in Syria and a very good working contact was established at the operational level and at the level of military units’ chiefs.
“They hand over and repeatedly handed over [data] to us. I thanked incumbent President [Donald Trump] because information that we received from America helped us prevent several terrorist acts in Russia,” Putin noted. “In our turn, we are trying to do the same and we have such an agreement with the incumbent US president that if this information emerges, we will share it and help each other”.

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