There will be no Russian soldiers in Afghanistan

On his way from Washington to Moscow, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov made a stopover in Brussels to discuss current issues dealing with Russia-NATO cooperation with the NATO secretary-general.

According to his words, he and Robertson will be discussing two points, Russia-NATO cooperation in Afghanistan and actions NATO and the Russian military mission will take in Mons after the pullout of the Russian peacekeeping forces from the Balkans.

Russia will be cooperating with NATO "only from its territory and from the positions of its armed forces and border guards stationed in Tajikistan," Ivanov stressed.

"We shall discuss cooperation in Afghanistan with regard for the fact that the alliance is soon taking over the management of the antiterrorist operation in this country for six months," he said.

"We'll be exchanging intelligence with NATO, organizing medical aid for the population of Afghanistan's border areas, conducting rescue operations, and discussing collaboration in other humanitarian spheres in Kabul and Tajikistan." In the meantime, Russia is already lending assistance to Afghanistan. "The Afghan military go to our educational centers in St. Petersburg," reported Ivanov, referring to junior officers.

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