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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:19 AM
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Karzai Claims Defense Deal With Russia
Karzai Claims Defense Deal With Russia
January 20, 2009
Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan - Russia is ready to cooperate on defense matters with Afghanistan, the Afghan president said Monday. The announcement coincides with increasingly public tensions between Afghan and Western officials, as well as Russia's heightened efforts to assert itself on the international stage.

In a letter, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said cooperation on defense issues would "be effective for both countries and also effective for maintaining security in the region," Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said in a statement.

"As a friendly government to Afghanistan, Russia is ready to offer its cooperation to an independent and a democratic Afghanistan," the statement quoted Medvedev as saying.

The statement did not say how the two countries would cooperate, but historically they have been at odds. Russian soldiers were part of the Soviet Army that occupied Afghanistan throughout the 1980s, before being forced to withdraw in 1989 following years of a U.S.-supported insurgency that drained Soviet resources and contributed to the country's collapse.

A spokesman at the Kremlin in Russia said he had no detail about the exchange between Medvedev and Karzai.

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