Another prominent Afghan leader of the past, 65-year-old Abdul Samad Hamid, who occupied the post of Deputy Prime Minister at the time of King Zahir Shah has arrived in Pakistan. The local English newspaper Dawn believes that the arrival of Hamid is part of the efforts of the supporters of the ex-monarch and the USA, which supports him, aimed at uniting all the anti-Taliban forces on a common platform. Hamid, a Pashtoon, lived for the past decade in Switzerland and did not take a direct part in the so-called Rome Process which unites the followers of Zahir Shah. He is the second prominent political figure who has arrived in Pakistan within the last two weeks. Earlier, military adviser of the ex-King General Abdul Rahim Wardak had arrived in Pakistan. He studied in the USA and is known for his contacts with the Americans. At the present time his aim is to restore the Afghan regular army and to unite emigrant groups on the position of supporting the former King. Apart from that, on Monday the newspaper Frontier Post reported about a new possible protege of the USA - former chief of the Afghan HAD counter-intelligence agency and Defence Minister under President Najibullah Shahnawaz Tanai. He is also in the Pakistani city of Peshawar now and, relying on his former agents and supporters, is quite able to start resistance to the Taliban regime. In view of the inefficiency of its military operation and unreadiness to conduct a broad land operation by its special task forces, the USA stakes at splitting the Taliban movement from inside by bribing and winning chiefs of Pashtoon clans and tribes over to its side.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea