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Russian VIP Pays Visit to Afghanistan

From Times Wire Services

Russia’s foreign minister visited this capital city Monday and pledged to help Afghanistan recover from 23 years of war and instability that began when the Soviet Union invaded the country.

Igor S. Ivanov met with interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai before leaving the nation later in the day.

“We plan to play an active role in rebuilding. We will try to reconstruct some of the facilities built by the Soviet Union, mainly in energy and other facilities,” he said.

Ivanov said that in return for Moscow’s help, he had won a promise from the interim administration not to harbor terrorists or drug traffickers.

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Russia has supported the U.S.-led anti-terrorism campaign in part because it is also interested in weakening radical Islamic groups. Those groups include militants fighting in the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya.

Since the defeat of the Taliban regime late last year, Russia has sent workers to Afghanistan to set up a field hospital and led work to reopen the Salang Tunnel between Kabul and the north. The tunnel was built to assist the Soviet invasion of December 1979.


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