Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 169

A Russian Foreign Ministry official expressed hope yesterday that a military and political breakthrough may be at hand in Tajikistan because "positive changes have occurred primarily in the attitude of Afghans, who until recently had protected the armed Tajik opposition." The Kabul government has stopped protesting against Russian bombardment of Afghan villages which shelter Tajik opposition units, and is "assuring us that it will meet us half way in the effort to bring peace to Tajikistan." The Russian official was commenting on the just-completed "friendly visit" of Kabul’s deputy foreign minister Abdurrahim Ghafurzai who held talks with senior Russian officials on, inter alia, cooperation in ensuring security on the Afghan-Tajik border.

That was the subject of a draft agreement submitted last week to Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani and Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar by Russia’s special envoy for Tajikistan, Yevgeny Mikhailov, and deputy commander of Russian border troops, Col. Gen. Aleksey Kozhevnikov. The agreement would obligate Afghanistan to create a 25 kilometer-wide security corridor on its side of the Afghan-Tajik border, use force to keep Tajik insurgents out of that corridor, and cooperate with the Russian side to that end. While the Kabul leaders are still considering the agreement, Russian border guards have reported in recent days that Afghan troops loyal to Kabul twice attacked Tajik opposition units from the rear. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, Western agencies, September 9 through 11)

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