Hopes that Russia might win the release of seven crew members and their Ilyushin-76 aircraft, held since August 3 by members of the Taliban opposition, were dashed over the weekend. The rebels postponed the release pending Moscow’s turnover of additional documents concerning Afghanis whom the Talibs believe are being held in Russia. The Talibs reportedly agreed at a meeting on December 19-20 to release the plane and its crew on December 30. Foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev was subsequently reported to have been named head of a Russian delegation to Kandahar, where the group is based. Press reports were unclear as to whether the release had merely been postponed. The outcome of related negotiations led by Yuri Kotov of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Kandahar on December 31 also remained unknown. (2)
Over 11,000 Strikes Took Place in 1995.