Russian and US defence ministers are confident that situation in Afghanistan will soon stabilise

The Russian and US defence ministers expressed confidence that the situation in Afghanistan would stabilise shortly. Sergei Ivanov and Donald Rumsfeld said this on Monday at a news conference at Sheremetyevo-1 after their working meeting. As was stressed by Rumsfeld, who a few days ago visited Afghanistan during his Asian tour, the situation in Afghanistan is gradually normalising. According to him, "good progress has been made in Afghanistan and the Taliban no longer rule the country". The American minister also noted that Al-Qaeda no longer uses Afghanistan as a training camp and a place from which to send terrorist groups to other countries to kill. At the same time the Pentagon chief emphasised that "the work is not finished yet and Afghanistan is still a dangerous place, while the Taliban not captured by us leave for the mountains and dream of returning to power". According to Rumsfeld, members of the anti-terrorist coalition and the world community should not allow this. Ivanov, for his part, emphasised that the Russian and American assessments of the situation in Afghanistan are very close. "Like the US government, we are in regular contact with the Afghan leadership," he said. According to him, the US and Russia are equally interested in seeing "Afghanistan move slowly but surely along the road of stabilisation and creating an interim government in Afghanistan". Ivanov stressed that the talks with Rumsfeld were in general very useful and covered a wide range of issues dealing with international security, including the struggle against international terrorism, limitation of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other problems of equal importance to both countries.

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