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WASHINGTON – Despite working behind the scenes to throw obstacles in the way of supplying U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, Russia has done a public about-face and offered a southern Russian base for U.S. use as a supply hub, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

In saying a pullout of U.S. and coalition troops under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization may not be a good idea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered the base and said it would have Duma, or parliamentary, approval.

“We are not happy with the artificial deadlines of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan,” Lavrov said. U.S. and coalition forces are supposed to be out of the country by the end of 2014, even though the Afghan Taliban is showing increasing strength in the country.

There still is the prospect that the government of Afghanistan could allow the U.S. to establish a number of bases in the country. In offering a base in Russia, Lavrov said that it is a way to help those who are “eliminating terrorism threats and drug trafficking in Afghanistan,” underscoring that Moscow is “helping the NATO coalition for our own national interest.”

Moscow always has been conflicted with U.S. troop presence in the Central Asia region but concluded it was a help by going after terrorists.

Analysts see the move as a political gesture that masks Moscow’s real intent of having the U.S. expend its own resources to go after terrorists in Afghanistan which borders Russia. Russia has been experiencing increasing Islamist radical activity of its own in the southern provinces of Russia in the North Caucasus. There are increasing indications that Islamist militants from Afghanistan and other points in Central Asia are joining with the Islamists in Russia’s southern provinces, making Moscow’s terrorist problem increasingly acute.

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