International arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden is still staying on Afghan territory, President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan told reporters here today, before a tripartite conference involving the Presidents of Russia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan got underway. Not a single country will want to shame itself before the international community and to grant asylum to bin Laden, Rakhmonov added. I don't think that even his closest supporters will agree to let him go. He has too much money at his disposal. According to Rakhmonov, it's very difficult to locate bin Laden in Afghanistan because that country boasts mountain areas and rugged terrain. The assassination of Akhmad Shah Massoud and terrorist attacks in the United States are inter-linked, Rakhmonov went on to say. In his words, Akhmad Shah Massoud's supporters didn't have enough time to reach the Tajik border, after their leader was injured. However, Massoud's death was kept secret for a while in order to prevent any panic among the northern alliance, Rakhmonov added.
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