Russia envoy warns against Afghan civil war

On 25th anniversary of Soviet withdrawal, envoy to Kabul says only negotiated peace can avert repeat conflict.

    Andrey Avetisyan, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan, has warned against a repeat of the country's civil war after the US and NATO withdraw their troops from the war-torn country next year.

    In an interview with Al Jazeera, Avetisyan drew a parallel between the current US deployment and the Russian invasion in the 1980s. 

    The ambassador was speaking on the 25th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was followed by a fierce civil war and the eventual rule of the Taliban. 

    Avestisyan, who was a junior diplomat in Afghanistan in the 1980s, said that "there is only one way to peace in Afghanistan," and that is a negotiated peace agreement. 

    "The Afghans have to mend fences among them," he said. "The political solution, the peace process and reconciliation should be the way as it should have been then."

    Despite its decade-long presence in Afghanistan starting with the 1979 invasion, the Soviets failed to make headway in their fight against the Mujahideen - fighters who wanted introduce a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

    By 1982, the armed group controlled 75 percent of Afghanistan.

    More than five million Afghans were displaced by the war and 13,000 Soviet troops were killed.

    The US is expected to withdraw in 2014.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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