On August 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against NATO forces prematurely withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2014 . . . in his remarks Putin asserted that ensuring stability in Afghanistan was NATOs responsibility . . . he went on to say that removing combat troops before the Afghan government was able to adequately address internal security concerns would cause instability in Central Asia . . . Putin’s desire to see NATO remain in Afghanistan likely serves a number of strategic priorities . . . keeping NATO troop levels the same would continue to weigh heavily on coalition partners financially and operationally . . . but an early exit by NATO could allow Islamic militancy to spread and may encourage drug trafficking to flourish regionally . . . while Putin conceded it was in Russia’s own “national interest” to have NATO operating in Afghanistan until stability is achieved, a premature pullout by coalition forces would likely cause Afghanistan to disintegrate into chaos.