The United States recognizes Russia’s contribution to building a better future for the Afghan people. Our two countries have developed excellent cooperation that supports Afghan efforts to make Afghanistan a peaceful, stable, and economically self-sustaining country, free of terrorism and illegal narcotics. We recognize that significant further international support will be needed to achieve this goal.
We take note of the significant contribution to international security that has resulted from the arrangements between the United States and Russia – bilaterally and through NATO – to support ground and air transit into and out of Afghanistan. In accordance with these arrangements, over 2,200 flights, over 379,000 military personnel, and over 45,000 containers of cargo have been transported through Russia in support of operations in Afghanistan.
Russia and the United States continue to expand law-enforcement and counternarcotics cooperation with our Afghan law enforcement partners. We support a comprehensive approach to reduce the volume of narcotics grown in Afghanistan, including by providing farmers with alternatives to poppy cultivation and providing continued assistance for Afghan-led counternarcotics efforts. The United States also praises the work of the NATO-Russia Council counternarcotics program, which has trained more than 2,000 law-enforcement officers from Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan since 2006.
The United States and Russia continue to face a common threat from terrorism, including from al-Qa’ida and other groups operating in and around Afghanistan. We are working together to disrupt terrorists’ operational networks and undermine their access to financial resources.
Together with NATO, the United States and Russia have established the Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to support Afghanistan’s fleet of Russian-built Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters. In 2012, 30 Afghan helicopter technicians will travel to Russia for advanced maintenance training, which will enhance the capacity of the Afghan security forces to keep their fleet of helicopters mission-ready as they assume greater responsibility for Afghanistan’s security. Russia is working on Dari-language field manuals for these airframes, and Russian experts have provided technical assessments of the fleet to enable the Afghans to develop a sustainable maintenance plan.