West has made more mistakes in Afghanistan than Russia, claims envoy to Kabul

Kabul, Sept.12 (ANI): Russia's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Andrey Avetisyan, has claimed that Britain and America have made more strategic blunders than Russia in the war-ravaged nation, and this would delay a successful withdrawal of troops.

The New York Post quoted Ambassador Avetisyan, as saying that talk of a handover to the Afghans was currently unrealistic because the coalition had failed to build the nation's forces or economy.

He also said the West was responsible for the blight of rampant corruption in the administration because it had taken the decision to plough in huge sums into badly coordinated and opaque aid projects.

An estimated one million Afghans were killed and millions fled abroad during the Soviet Union's decade-long occupation of Afghanistan. The Red Army lost some 15,000 troops fighting the Western-backed Mujahideen resistance.

Ambassador Avetisyan said the West had not learned from Soviet mistakes.They are repeating all of them and they are making new ones," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

Ambassador Avetisyan said NATO had "wasted" nine years not building an Afghan army to replace them.

He said: "Only now have people started to realise 'Oh, we must have someone to secure the country when we leave'.

"But it is not possible to do in several months, or years. If serious training of the Afghan army is started now, it will take in my opinion at least five years. If the international community had started this several years ago, then now it would be realistic to talk about transition timetables and withdrawal," he said.

He said Russia is worried that an unstable Afghanistan could become a launch pad for Islamist militant attacks.

"Russia has played a low profile role in the past eight or nine years and now it is becoming more active in Afghanistan," he said. (ANI)

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