Learning from Experience
According to unofficial reports, NATO commanders have recently reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for information on the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. The U.S led NATO troops will emulate the Russian experience for troop withdrawal, which is expected to take place in December 2014.
NATO officials who are part of the 2014 withdrawal have shown interest to meet the participants of the 1989 operation. The Russian Defense Ministry has accepted the request, citing no reason to reject the appeal and promising to provide U.S. commanders with all relevant documents. Russia and NATO also held a foreign minister’s conference in April to discuss the withdrawal in detail. The U.S. is planning to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in 2014 after analysts suggested that the country was engaged in an unwinnable war.
Russia has offered the U.S. to use the Baltic Port of Ust-Luga to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. NATO officials will benefit greatly from this Russian gesture as transporting coalition cargo through the Ulyanovsk transport hub was a burden on their finances and using the Baltic Port will be a feasible option. In addi- tion, the Russia-NATO cooperation will give additional opportunities to promote Russian military hardware in foreign markets.