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Central Asia: Putin In Kyrgyzstan To Discuss Security Pact

Bishkek, 11 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Kyrgyzstan today for a summit of the leaders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, and Armenia, who make up the Collective Security Council. They will discuss efforts to bolster military cooperation during the one-day summit. A recent string of military victories by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement has raised fears that it could foment unrest throughout Central Asia. Russia and Central Asian nations accuse the Taliban of backing Islamic militants that have challenged governments in the region. Moscow also claims that the Taliban have been aiding separatists fighting Russian forces in Chechnya. The Taliban have denied all those charges.

Russia has about 25,000 army troops and border guards deployed in Tajikistan.