Question: In your opinion, what are the prospects for the development of the situation after the troops are removed from Afghanistan?
Sergey Lavrov: I have already touched upon this topic today. These prospects are quite cloudy. Because the plans of those, who want to keep their military presence in Afghanistan in one way or another are not clear. There is no clarity about the situation with the results of its presidential elections. As you know, an unusual decision was taken, to recount voices completely. Whatever this process ends in, we expect that its results will be accepted by the community and there will be no escalation of violence. We are ready to work with any leaders of Afghanistan, which are elected and supported by the Afghan people. Russia is interested to discuss political aspects of the external situation with regard to Afghanistan, primarily within the framework of the SCO, where Afghanistan and its neighbours are represented. We believe that any new forms of military presence (in the IRA) must be thoroughly balanced, acceptable for the Afghan people and leaders and must receive consent of the UN Security Council. We will insist that the new Afghan leaders, and all those, who plan (with Afghanistan’s consent) to work inside this country, devote much more attention to the problem of eliminating the drug threat. This is the problem, which directly affects Tajikistan, Russia and other SCO and CSTO countries. We should not put up with the situation, when in over a decade of international presence drug production has grown quite significantly.
There are many tasks, but, first of all, we need to act collectively rather than attempt to resolve our own narrow national tasks, thinking about the region itself as the last thing.