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NATO official open to Russian assistance

MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday that Russia potentially could take part in ongoing international operations in Afghanistan.

Speaking a security conference in Germany, Rasmussen said Russia could work with NATO in Afghanistan in areas such as operations against drug trafficking or training pilots and Afghan military personnel, RIA Novosti reported.

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Rasmussen said if Afghanistan were allowed to become a terrorist refuge once again, Russia would have a difficult time limiting the production of drugs inside the country's borders.

Rasmussen has been an open supporter of improved NATO-Russia ties. Contacts between the two sides have been improving since the sides were split over Russia's 2008 war with Georgia.

RIA Novosti said the Russian government previously vowed to provide assistance to the international efforts in Afghanistan. Russia has already allowed non-lethal NATO supplies to travel through Russia by land.

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