The Taliban movement will be defeated by a massive rapid joint operation of the USA's and the Northern Alliance's land troops. This statement was made by Shahnavaz Tanai, the former Defence Minister of Afghanistan, in an interview with the Pakistan Observer newspaper and the On-Line news agency. The former Minister believes that the Taliban could not be defeated only by air raids, while the strength of Northern Alliance's units is insufficient to score a victory over the Taliban troops. According to him, air raids have not yet inflicted any considerable damage on the Taliban units, which can continue resistance for as long as is needed. Tanai also added that the current situation is advantageous for the Taliban. He said that air raids claimed the lives of civilians causing an outcry in the majority of Muslim states. Tanai called on all Afghan political and social parties and groups to forget disagreements of the past and start a joint restoration of the country. As to the United States, the Afghan leader believes that its primary objective in Afghanistan is to eliminate Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization of al-Qaeda. At the same time, America is striving to gain control over oil and other resources of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, Tanai believes. Local observers do not rule out that Tanai, aged 52, may get an influential post in the future government of Afghanistan or head the anti-Taliban resistance of the country because he still enjoys the support of a considerable part of the Afghan population.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea