A Russian delegation is setting out for a visit to Afghanistan today. It will be guarded by the Russian Defence Ministries special forces and part of the 201st division stationed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital city, the RBC news agency reports citing its sources in the city. Presumably, the Russian delegation will first arrive in Dushanbe, and then will be airlifted to Afghanistan on helicopters. Apparently, the helicopters will land in the Bagram airport, the closest to Kabul. A transfer of the special force and part of the 201st division (several fully manned aircrafts and armoured vehicles) started in the middle of this week, although this fact has not been confirmed by official sources. Remember that Moscow supported the USA in conducting its anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks. At that, Russia made it clear that it was not planning to take part in any large-scale warfare on this Central Asian country’s territory. At the same time, Moscow promised to provide the USA with all intelligence information available and also expressed the political and military support for Burhanuddin Rabbani, Afghanistan’s legitimate president and leader of the Northern Alliance. Besides, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Russia has supplied and will keep on supplying arms to the anti-Taliban coalition. In the meantime, US troops are already involved in heavy fighting with the Taliban forces, the US Defence Minister Donald Rumsfeld is quoted as saying earlier today. According to him, hundreds of US soldiers on the battle field with casualties being reported so far.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia