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Russia Defense Minister Arrives in Kabul - 2002-09-06


Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is in Kabul today (Friday) for talks expected to focus on helping the Afghan armed forces with weapons, supplies and training.

During his one-day visit, Mr. Ivanov will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Defense Minister Mohammad Fahim (Khan), and other senior officials.

Mr. Ivanov told Russia's Itar-Tass news agency ahead of his trip that 90 percent of military hardware and armaments in the Afghan armed forces are of Soviet make. He said Russia will be sending arms and military equipment to Afghanistan, and helping to train officers for the Afghan army.

Mr. Ivanov also says Russia will continue to offer humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Mr. Ivanov, who is expected to make a brief stop in Tajikistan on his return trip to Moscow, is the first Russian defense minister to visit Afghanistan since the days of the Soviet Union. Soviet troops left Afghanistan in 1989, after nearly a decade of occupation and war.

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