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Tajikistan: Russian Official Concerned About Afghan Border


Kabul, 3 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- A high-level Russian official has contacted several ambassadors about Russia's concern for the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and the creation of a border security zone, according to Russian and Western reports

The director of Russia's border service, Andrey Nikolayev, has contacted the ambassadors of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, China and India. Russia claims more than 2,000 Tajik opposition fighters are poised for a large attack into Tajikistan.

At a meeting in Moscow last week, border service chiefs of Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan decided to reinforce the Russian-led, CIS peace-keeping force on the border, and to supply it with additional equipment and heavy armaments.

The deputy director of Russia's border service, Alexei Kozhevnikov, and Russia's special envoy on the Tajikistan conflict, Yevgeny Mikhailov, are in Kabul. Reports say discussions focus on a security zone that would extend 25 kilometers on either side of the border, reports RFE/RL's Turkmenistan Service.

A delegation from Iran is also holding talks in Afghanistan. Delegation leader Murtaza Sarmadi has met Afghanistan's President Burhanuddin Rabbani and his military leader, Ahmad Shah Massood, and Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmetyar.

The Iranian delegation also plans meetings with various faction leaders in preparation for next month's Teheran conference on Afghanistan. In addition to regional prime ministers, Kabul is proposing that representatives of permanent members of the United Nations Security Council also be invited to the conference.
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