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The Russians Return


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai during bilateral talks in August

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai during bilateral talks in August

At the annual NATO summit in Lisbon later this month, Russia plans to make a surprising announcement: It will assist the Western military alliance's war effort in Afghanistan, the land from which it was forced to make a humiliating withdrawal two decades ago after failing to defeat a U.S.-backed insurgency that dealt a decisive blow to an already crumbling Soviet Union.

NATO is portraying the announced cooperation with its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as the fruit of a broader rapprochement between Russia and the West, which both Washington and its European allies are eager to cultivate. "The meeting in Lisbon is a real opportunity to turn a new page, to bury the ghosts of the past," Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's secretary-general, said last week during a pre-summit visit to Moscow. (Rasmussen presented a similar request last year, which the Russians spurned.)

NATO could certainly use more help in Afghanistan.... (read the full article at "Foreign Policy.")
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