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Russia: Ministers Threaten Military Action Against Afghan Camps

Minsk, 24 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov today said Russia may preventively hit targets in Afghanistan if they pose a threat to Russia. Speaking in Minsk, where he attended a gathering of CIS leaders, Ivanov said that Moscow envisages "various actions" against suspected guerrilla training camps in Afghanistan. Moscow accuses Afghanistan of training Chechen separatist fighters. Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said that strikes were not to be ruled out against what he called suspected "terrorist camps" in Afghanistan.

Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said in Minsk that the most important thing for Moscow is to "show resolve" to conduct decisive actions if threatened.

Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Muttmain said Afghanistan's Central Asian neighbors will bear responsibility in the event of Russian attacks. Muttmain yesterday said the Taliban does not train Chechen fighters but does give them moral support.