Interfax: Lavrov warns U.S. against attempts to use extremists in Afghanistan as temporary allies

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Washington that the use of extremists in Afghanistan as temporary allies may have dangerous consequences.

“If this is another attempt to use extremists as temporary allies to achieve some goals and then hope to take these extremists under their control, then this is an absolutely shortsighted tactic, it has been used many times in Afghanistan and then in Iraq and in other places, and it only resulted in the creation of powerful terrorist groups: al Qaeda, ISIL, and Jabhat al-Nusra,” Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with his Zambian counterpart on Wednesday.

All these groups are banned in Russia.

“Russia will initiate dialogue that will include the Afghan government, all neighbors of Afghanistan, all actors that are related to the Afghan issue,” Lavrov said.

Moscow hosted a special conference on Afghanistan on April 14, Lavrov said. “Representatives of the United States were invited to it, but they had to decline for some reasons. We hope that it is due to the fact that Washington is only just finalizing its Afghan policy,” said.

Lavrov said he hopes that, when this policy is formulated, “they will fully take into account the circumstances I have mentioned today and that are negatively impacting the common interests of establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

The issue of “what is happening in the sky over Afghanistan, which is fully controlled by the Americans, their NATO allies” is now gaining increasing significance, Lavrov said.

“I am speaking about it because Afghan parliamentarians a couple of days ago demanded explanations of facts involving flights of unmarked helicopters, which, as they say, are U.S.-made, to areas controlled by extremists,” he said.

“There is evidence that those helicopters dropped something on those territories, some unmarked helicopters landed on those territories controlled by extremists and then flew back,” he said.

“There are eyewitnesses’ accounts that they [the helicopters] returned to the bases where U.S. troops were also present. Of course, all these things raise questions,” Lavrov said.

[featured image is file photo]