Russian Deputy Foreign Minister: Al-qaeda has Bought New Weapons

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov told journalists on Thursday that Russia had information that al-Qaeda had regrouped and that remaining members in Afghanistan and Pakistan had bought new weapons on the black market.

According to him, part of these formations had managed to infiltrate Pakistan. "This presents a threat, especially when one takes into account that Pakistan has nuclear weapons," Mamedov stressed.

The deputy minister said that all this raised Moscow's concern, although during a meeting today, the Pakistani side had given assurances that Islamabad had reliable control over its nuclear weapons and said that they could not fall into the Taliban's hands.

Mamedov announced that during the first session of the Russso-Pakistani group for strategic stability, which was held on Thursday, he had posed question with regard to al-Qaeda. "The Pakistani side gave us answers that interested us," he said.

In particular, the Russian deputy foreign minister said that the Pakistani side had given assurances that following the events of September 2001, President Perves Musharraf had issued strict orders banning any contacts with the Taliban and other terrorist organisations, while he also instructed that support be given to the international anti-terrorist coalition.

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