Russian experts on Afghanistan visit NATO
The Russian experts on Afghanistan with NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow
On 19 September, a group of Russian experts on Afghanistan visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels for wide-ranging discussions on Afghanistan and security.
The group of Russian experts included Oleg Barabanov, Professor at MGIMO University and member of the Valdai Club, Arkady Dubnov, correspondent with Moscow News, Omar Nessar, Editor in Chief of Afghanistan.ru, Ivan Safranchuk, Deputy Director of the Institute of Contemporary International Studies at the Diplomatic Academy at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrey Serenko, an expert at the Center of Contemporary Afghan Studies, Petr Topychkanov of the Carnegie Moscow Center and Oleg Kulakov, of the Military Academy of the Ministry of Defence.
During the day, they met with high level NATO personnel to exchange views on topics including NATO’s operation in Afghanistan and Russia’s take on the situation in Afghanistan. The Russian experts also had the opportunity to exchange views with Russian Ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko.
The 19 September meetings provided an excellent opportunity to focus on NATO-Russia Council cooperation on Afghanistan. The experts were updated on the NRC Counter Narcotics Training Project which began in 2006 and has so far trained over 2,800 counter narcotics officers from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan, and continues to make a valuable contribution to regional capacity to tackle the threat posed by illegal narcotics trafficking. The NRC Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund was also pinpointed as an excellent example of where NATO-Russia Council nations are combining efforts to assist the Afghan National Security Forces in developing their capacity to maintain security in the country.
The broader issue of security in Afghanistan and the wider region is of significant importance to NATO-Russia Council nations, particularly in the lead up to 2014 and beyond. It has been the focus of discussion among NRC Ambassadors on several occasions in 2013, including during their meeting with Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Andrei Avetisyan.