The Al-Jazeera TV station has broadcasted an interview with Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil who called on international humanitarian organizations to render urgent aid to the Afghan people. In addition, the Minister voiced the determination of the Taliban government to ensure security of all humanitarian missions assisting the people of his country. The time and place of shooting the interview remain unclear. Nevertheless, rumours concerning a secret visit by the Taliban Minister to Pakistan early this week have recently been circulating in the country. Allegedly, the objective of the visit was to discuss with Pakistani authorities the possibility to establish a new Afghan government with participation of at least a moderate wing of the Taliban movement. Muttawakil is believed to be within the aforementioned wing. The Dawn, an influential Pakistani newspaper in English, reported Friday that the Taliban movement is on the edge of a split and its moderate wing was trying to persuade Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar to launch negotiations with the United States to stop the forthcoming land operation. According to the newspaper, the "opposition" includes, at least, two ministers from the current Taliban government and a certain influential field commander who controls one of the Southern Afghan provinces.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea