Russian President Vladimir Putin has met in Tajikistan with Afghan opposition leaders to express Moscow's support.
Mr. Putin conferred in Dushanbe early today (Monday) with Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Afghan president ousted when the Taleban took over Kabul in 1996.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov accompanied President Putin and said the talks covered the evolving military and political situation in Afghanistan, and formation of a future coalition government there.
Mr. Ivanov said nations that actively support the Afghan opposition, such as Russia, Iran and Tajikistan, need to share their views.
Mr. Putin also met with Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov during the unexpected summit. The Russian leader made a stopover in Dushanbe on his way back to Moscow from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Shanghai, China.
Tajikistan shares a long border with Afghanistan and 25-thousand Russian troops help guard that border. Tajik President Rakhmanov has called for establishment of a security zone around Afghanistan.
Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last week that his country will join the international anti-terror coalition. He stressed the involvement of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban in drug trafficking.
Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic with a population of six and one half million, is a Muslim country with a secular government. The Tajik authorities have taken a hard line against Islamic extremism.
After gaining independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, it underwent a five-year civil war. A peace agreement was signed by rival factions in 1997.