Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that comprehensive political settlement of the Afghan issue has never been as important as it is now. The Russian President made this statement in an interview with the Greek Eleftherotypia and To Vima newspapers. The interview has been released by the press service of the Russian President. Putin also stated that recent military victories against the Taliban movement were not "a reason for euphoria." "The Taliban movement still has much personnel and equipment and it is still capable of re-grouping and waging guerilla warfare," the Russian leader said. Russia, in its turn, "wants Afghanistan to be an independent and prosperous state with no terrorists or drug dealers, the country, which lives in peace with its neighbours and respects laws recognized by the international community," Putin emphasised. He also said that "we are ready to assist all efforts to settle the Afghan issue provided that the UN plays the central role in this process." Putin added that Russia "was the first to face terrorism." "We have been calling on our foreign partners to join the efforts to combat this evil. We have been warning that terrorists are coordinating their criminal activities and a kind of a "terrorist international" spreading from the Philippine isles to the Balkans and Middle East has been setting up." The Russian side also warned that terrorists had "a sophisticated finance and organisational infrastructure and was able to de-stabilise situation in whole regions of the world." Putin stated that "the world has now realized the scale of t! ! his threat and started developing a coordinated policy to neutralise this dangerous threat." In this connection, the Russian President stressed the importance of "UN coordinating mechanisms." "We believe that the activities targeted at developing the international legal status based on 12 anti-terrorism conventions, should be continued under the aegis of this international organisation. The struggle against terrorism should involve all necessary means and levers both political and economic ones, as well as UN sanctions if necessary." Vladimir Putin confirmed "Russia's adherence to the establishment of a global system to counteract new threats and challenges" and was ready to cooperate with all countries and international organisations including NATO and EC. As to the statements concerning possible bombing raids against the "rogue states", the Russian leader said that he would rather consider them as "a simple practice of rhetorics skills."
They did not initially want democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Americans wanted to take those countries under their control