US needs UN mandate to leave Afghanistan: Russia
Russia said Wednesday the United States will need to seek approval from the United Nations before it can withdraw all its forces from Afghanistan.
The foreign ministry's chief spokesman said Russia "took note" of President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw 33,000 surge troops by the end of next summer -- about one third of the entire US force.
"As for a full drawdown of the international presence in Afghanistan, it should be conducted in accordance with a resolution on the UN Security Council," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Lukashevich said this would be consistent "with the mandate by which the international peacekeeping forces were deployed in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan".
Russia has a painful history in Afghanistan after losing a brutal war there in the 1980s and fears that local Islamic insurgents could develop bases across the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and southern Russian territories.
Moscow has allowed NATO troops to transfer non-combat equipment across its territory for the campaign but also fears a more permanent US presence in the energy-rich Central Asian region.
© 2011 AFP