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US Sees Afghanistan as Best Base in Russia's Backyard

US Sees Afghanistan as Best Base in Russia's BackyardUS Sees Afghanistan as Best Base in Russia's Backyard

The policy of the United States is to stay in Afghanistan for a long time, as the strategically-located country provides it with the best military base in the region to remain in Russia's backyard and exert influence over India and China, a lawmaker said.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Jalil Rahimi added that the presence of the US in Afghanistan has never been out of a desire to establish a democracy, but because of its strategic significance.

"From a security vantage point, the US must be present in Central Asia, as the presence in the region amounts to keeping a foothold in Russia's backyard and controlling the increasing power of China and India," he said.

Last week, US President Donald Trump committed the United States to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan and signaled he would send more troops there.

Pointing to the closure of the only Central Asian airbase of the US in Kyrgyzstan, he said the handover of the base was a result of the rising clout of Russia and China in the region, especially after the formation of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Three years ago, the United States handed over the base in Central Asia to the government of Kyrgyzstan, which is closely allied to Russia.

The base saw the movement of over 5.3 million servicemen in and out of Afghanistan and handled tens of thousands of cargo shipments and refueling missions.

Russia gave its consent to Washington and its NATO allies to use Central Asia as a staging post for the Afghan war after the Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

But Moscow later became increasingly wary of foreign military presence in the region it considers its sphere of influence.

Rahimi said Afghanistan is the best "lookout post" for the US in the region where Washington can fill the vacuum created by the American withdrawal from Central Asia.

  Viable Solution

The lawmaker said most of the tragedies happening in Afghanistan are due to the US military presence there, but the lack of a proper power structure to ensure security has convinced Kabul that US troops must be stationed in the South Asian country.

Rahimi noted that the US presence will not solve any of the wide-ranging problems facing the impoverished nation, adding that "the US military presence there would only lead to the rise of Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Daesh."

Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

According to Rahimi, the only viable solution for Kabul would be to form an alliance with regional countries, namely Pakistan, India, Russia and China, if it is to survive in the long run.

"The federal government in Kabul must be strengthened for this scenario to take shape," he concluded.

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