The first 50,000-dollar humanitarian aid convoy of the Russian Orthodox Church will depart for the Afghan town of Imamsahib in the next few days. According to the press service of Russian border guards stationed in Tajikistan, an agreement on humanitarian aid was reached during a meeting between a delegation of the Internal Links Department of the Moscow Patriarchate headed by Oleg Kaliulin, which travelled to Afghanistan on a special assignment from Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II, and Nekmamad, the spiritual leader of Imamsahib. Humanitarian aid is not limited to just food products, said the press service. The second stage of the humanitarian action envisages that each refugee family returning to Afghanistan gets a set of prime household necessities, footwear, clothes, blankets, mattresses, tents, soap, washing powder and a medical kit. The sides are currently negotiating the setting up of mini power plants and water-purifying facilities in villages, organization of first-aid stations, and deliveries of construction materials. According to Kaliulin's words, holding a bilateral meeting between Orthodox and Moslem believers ahead of the Orthodox Easter is a unique historical event for both Russia and Afghanistan. Security arrangements were made by Russian and Afghan border guards.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.