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Russia: Maskhadov Denies Chechens Training In Afghanistan

Prague, 26 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov today denied Russian allegations that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia is training Chechen guerrillas. In a telephone interview with RFE/RL, Maskhadov said Chechnya has enough forces and enough means to sustain a partisan war with the Russian army. "We didn't ask for any military help from anyone, including Afghanistan, because there isn't such a necessity. We have enough forces and means to sustain a full partisan war with the Russian army." He added that "There are no Chechen bases in Afghanistan, or in Yemen. We don't need any bases, because during the previous war Russian generals taught our people how to fight."

Last week, Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky alleged that Taliban rulers are training Chechen guerrillas. He said Moscow could strike Taliban bases in Afghanistan, in retaliation.

Maskhadov today called Yastrzhembsky's statement "irresponsible." Meanwhile, the head of Russia's border service said today that air strikes against Afghanistan would heighten tension in Central Asia, particularly on the Afghan border with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.