Medvedev wants US forces to leave Afghanistan with `dignity`

Medvedev said final aim of intn`l military presence was to ensure security.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2011, 21:28 PM IST

Moscow: Describing a political settlement in Afghanistan as important for Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday said he wanted the US-led international
stabilisation forces to successfully accomplish their mission
and leave the restive nation with "dignity and respect".

"We should wait until 2014 when Afghanistan is fully
independent before drawing conclusions. A peaceful settlement
in Afghanistan is important for the whole region including
Russia," Medvedev said at the joint news conference here after
talks with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

"All we want is them to leave Afghanistan with dignity
and respect," the Russian leader underlined.

He said the final aim of the international military
presence was to ensure security and independence of
Afghanistan through its own resources and a peaceful
settlement in Afghanistan is important for the whole region
including Russia.

Speaking about the assessment of the activities of
international forces in Afghanistan, Medvedev acknowledged
that some mistakes had been made, thoroughly investigated, but
noted that these were mistakes in tactics rather than
strategy.

"As for strategic mistakes - the time for analysis
has not come yet," Medvedev said.

But of course the current phase of relations, which
began in 2001 in spite of the presence of NATO forces in
Afghanistan, is "especially important".

And since then the relationship has seen considerable
improvement, mainly due to Russia`s continuing support.

Medvedev said helping international mission in
Afghanistan was important for Russia.

However, he pointed out that actual help was as
important as observations and reminded the journalists that
Moscow has approved a number of documents allowing cargo move
through Russian territory to aid the international task force
in Afghanistan.

"Finally Afghanistan should be able to provide its
security and independence through its own resources," the
Russian president said.

PTI