Kabul hopes for Russian help in building up a new Afghan army

The Afghan government views Russia as one of the main partners in the build-up of a new army of Afghanistan and hopes for its active participation in the army development, Afghan Defence Minister Mohammad Fahim said.

He had a meeting with the Russian delegation at the Ahmad Shah Masood international conference in Kabul.

During the conversation they exchanged opinions on the current set-up in Afghanistan, General Alexander Lyakhovsky, a member of the delegation, told RIA Novosti on Monday.

The delegation also had a meeting with ex-President of Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani. He said that Russia and Afghanistan are linked by "close cultural, political and economic relations deeply rooted in history and explained by the two states' geopolitical situation." To him, "it would be wrong because of the past mistakes to neglect our countries' natural possibilities for close and mutually beneficial interaction." Ahmad Shah Masood, former leader of the anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance, died in a terrorist act on September 9, 2001.

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