Tomorrow, Afghan Defense Minister, General Muhammad Fahim is expected to arrive in Moscow. The main subjects of the planned negotiations will be questions of military and technical cooperation.
According to Interfax, Fahim is supposed will conduct negotiations with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and head of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin. The visit is very important for both sides. Afghanistan is creating its national army, and, of course, it expects Russian assistance. The Afghan army needs spare supplies for its armored troop-carriers, as well as other supplies.
For Russia, in addition to its armament supplies, it is very important to expand its influence in this region, all the more so since the Americans have created military bases in Central Asia. Our Afghani friends should realize that any important question cannot be solved without the help of Russia.
The task is complicated enough, because Russia has influence only upon the Northern Alliance, and this influence seems not to be very powerful. Pro-American Prime-Minister Khamid Karzai and prominent Pashtun leaders are beyond Russian influence. It is not excluded that during the negotiations, the recent military conflicts between Muhammad Fahim’s units and that those of Uzbek General Rashid Dustum will be discussed. The split inside the Northern Alliance seriously worries Moscow, so it will try with all possible means to reconcile the conflicting sides.
Khamid Karzai, the head of the Afghan provisional government that is supported by the US and Great Britain is making efforsts to have King Zahir Shah seated on the throne. The motive for this move is that the King might be able to consolidate the country. Therefore, there are many subjects to be discussed, and for these discussions, both time and political will are necessary.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/02/09/36845.html