Putin: NATO should stay in Afghanistan

Some unsolicited advice from Russia’s president: NATO forces should stay in Afghanistan until their job is done, Russia President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, suggesting they should stay beyond a planned withdrawal of most combat troops in 2014. "It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/GettyImages
ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/GettyImages
ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/GettyImages

Some unsolicited advice from Russia's president:

NATO forces should stay in Afghanistan until their job is done, Russia President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, suggesting they should stay beyond a planned withdrawal of most combat troops in 2014.

"It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of there," Putin said at a meeting with paratroopers in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk. "They took up this burden and should carry it to the end."

Some unsolicited advice from Russia’s president:

NATO forces should stay in Afghanistan until their job is done, Russia President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, suggesting they should stay beyond a planned withdrawal of most combat troops in 2014.

"It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of there," Putin said at a meeting with paratroopers in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk. "They took up this burden and should carry it to the end."

Perhaps the position of America’s "number one geopolitical foe" can help Mitt Romney’s campaign better articulate a position on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It’s not quite clear from the Reuters story why exactly Putin wants NATO to remain in Afghanistan, though from a strategic perspective, the allies’ reliance on the Northern Distribution Network for supplies certainly gives Moscow some international leverage. Russian officials have also repeatedly urged the U.S. to pursue a poppy eradication strategy to wipe out Afghan heroin, which has helped fuel a growing drug epidemic in Russia.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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