Pakistani authorities have closed down one of the country's three Taliban consulates, the one based in Karachi. Local observers assume that, in the next few days, Islamabad may suggest that the Taleban close down the other two consulates in Quetta and Peshawar. Pakistani authorities have so far offered no comment on their decision, but diplomatic sources believe it was prompted by Taliban's breach of the so-called "veto on criticism of third countries" the Geneva Convention imposes on diplomatic missions, or rather by Taliban's constant criticism of the US military campaign in Afghanistan. Observers also note that it was consulates that provided a link between the Kandahar-based Taliban leadership and Pakistani fundamentalists organising rallies against the "pro-American" policy of the country's President Pervez Musharraf.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea