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Russia slams NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan

Brussels: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is criticising NATO's plan to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by 2014, saying coalition troops should remain in the country until government forces are capable of ensuring security.

Lavrov described as "artificial" NATO's timeline for withdrawal from the 10-year war.

AP

The alliance plans to hand over lead responsibility for the war to the Afghan army and police by the middle of next year, and to withdraw its troops by the end of 2014. It has already started drawing down its forces, which reached a peak of about 140,000 last year.

Lavrov, who attended a meeting of NATO defense and foreign ministers in Brussels, said China and other countries in Asia were also worried about the withdrawal plan.

AP