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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Karzai Seeks Backing From Local Afghans

Fresh from securing pledges of aid from Russian officials, Afghan interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai turned his attention Wednesday to the large Afghan diaspora living in Russia to request their help in rebuilding their war-shattered homeland.

Karzai conferred with representatives of the thousands-strong Afghan community -- many of whom have been in Russia since Soviet times and have the kind of specialist training that Afghanistan desperately needs to recover from a generation of war.

Karzai's trip to Russia has already earned him much-needed support from Moscow and assurances that the Kremlin is seeking a peaceful and prosperous future for its southern neighbor.

Karzai insisted Wednesday that Russia must shoulder some of the responsibility for rebuilding his country, ravaged by war since the 1979 Soviet invasion.

Concluding a three-day visit to Moscow, Karzai told reporters that Afghanistan's new government would be seeking Russian help to restore the dozens of Soviet-built factories, roads, bridges and other facilities scattered across Afghanistan.

"The Soviet Union built them, the Soviet Union destroyed them, let Russia now rebuild them," Karzai said at the end of a visit that won numerous pledges of support from Moscow.

Karzai said the new, friendly relations with Russia were such that Russian troops would even be welcome as part of the international peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan, although Russia has not shown any interest in participating.

"Afghanistan welcomes the participation of any friendly state," Karzai said, adding that a peacekeeping force is critical to Afghanistan's future stability.