Russia's defence ministry has contradicted Taliban's statement that Russian officers help the field commanders of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance to plan and carry out military operations. According to a defence ministry spokesman, Russia's position on the Afghan issue as voiced by President Vladimir Putin is that Russian servicemen shall not participate in military action in Afghanistan and that Russia's assistance will confine itself to sharing intelligence information with the anti-terrorist coalition and, in case of an emergency, to participating in search-and-rescue operations in Afghanistan. Earlier, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov announced that high-ranking Russian generals were dispatched to Tashkent and Dushanbe to coordinate the activity of Russian law enforcements and of analogous structures of coalition partners, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the first place. This was done in accordance with an agreement reached between Vladimir Putin and his Uzbek and Tajik counterparts, Emomali Rakhmonov and Islam Karimov.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18