Of paramount importance for the future of Afghanistan will be the efforts by the United Nations and Russia to form an interim Afghan government. This is according to Boris Pastukhov, a former Soviet Ambassador to Afghanistan and now chairman of the committee for CIS affairs in the State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, who spoke at a press conference on the RIA premises Tuesday. In his words, "leaders of the Northern Alliance, which has scored a victory over the Taliban with the help of the international anti-Taliban coalition, will be in no position to effectively administer their country's political, economic and military affairs." "The historical experience of recent years shows that the Afghans will not be able to reach understanding without help from the outside," proceeded the Russian MP. "So the implementation of the interim administration agreement signed at the intra-Afghan conference that took place in Germany under the auspices of the UN offers [the Afghans] a realistic chance to achieve harmony in the country. It is very important not to let Afghanistan split apart and to prevent feud there," Pastukhov pointed out. As for the UN international security forces, which, under the Bonn accords, shall be sent into Afghanistan, these must first of all be peacekeepers, he said. In the former ambassador's opinion, these forces must have a UN mandate, be widely introduced to Moslem countries, and be deployed primarily in Kabul.
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