By December 22, an official date of transferring power to the interim government headed by influential Pashtu leader Hamid Karzai, the international peacekeeping forces numbering 15,000 men will be brought into Afghanistan. They will be deployed in four biggest cities of the country: Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif. The RIA Novosti correspondent was told about it by the informed sources close to the incumbent Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani. According to these sources, the details of bringing the first part of the international forces were specified on Sunday evening during the meeting of Afghan Defence Minister Mohammad Qassem Fahim and Interior Minister Mohammad Younous Qanooni with US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld at the air base of Baghram, some twenty kilometres to east of the Afghan capital. The sources said that in the future the total number of the peacekeepers would be increased up to 60,000 men.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign