Russia is ready to restore 142 industrial facilities built by Soviet specialists in Afghanistan.
This information was released after the meeting between Russian and NATO’s Chiefs of General Staff on January 27, the first meeting after the events in the Caucasus of 2008. Officially, Moscow’s proposal was released on January 28 at the London conference on Afghan issues. Russia was represented at the conference by Sergey Lavrov, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The list of objects built at the expense of the USSR includes power stations, factories, oil plants, roads, power transmission lines, and pipelines. The reconstruction will require huge amounts of money that the Afghan government does not have.
The financial issue is the main issue of the conference. Russia does not suffer from money surplus and has already written off $10 billion of Afghan debt. The West is not eager to pay from their pockets either. Russians have all technical documentation, often unique, and they are the first candidates for restoration orders.
Russia’s ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia had been proposing restoration of Afghanistan for a long time. He mentioned that it was an old initiative.
“In the recent years, the Western presence in Afghanistan was due to the conducted antiterrorist operation. When Obama came to office, he proposed a new strategy that allowed for both the increase of troops and restoration of civil objects. This method had been tried out by the USSR. Within 10 years of presence, Russians built 140 large facilities. It created jobs and brought money into the budget. As a result, Afghanistan received a stable government that survived independently for three years under the pressure of Islamic fundamentalists. Now both Americans and their European allies are thinking about collecting donations for restoration of the Afghan economy. Russia has its own interests. The objects we built should be restored by us.”
“We are not talking about sending thousands of Russian workers to Afghanistan. We need to send engineers, and the issue of safety must be the most important one. We need money collected from international donors. Rich countries like EU could give us money. Many countries – NATO members would like to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan in exchange for money.”