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CHECHNYA LINKS LIBRARY

February 15th 2002 · RIA Novosti · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS

Russian Governor Claims There Are Al-Qaeda´s Envoys in Chechnya

MOSCOW, February 15, 2002. /from a RIA Novosti correspondent./ -- There are Al-Qaeda's envoys in Chechnya, Boris Gromov, the governor the Moscow region, was quoted as saying. At the same time, he said he didn't believe that "terrorist number one" Osama bin Laden was hiding in Chechnya. "Chechnya is not the region where he /Osama bin Laden/ could feel safe," the Governor stated speaking on Friday at a press conference dedicated to the 13th anniversary of the Soviet troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan. Gromov was the commander of the Soviet contingent in that country.

Gromov believes that the 1989 complete withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan was a mistake. "Afghanistan was abandoned to the mercy of fate, which resulted in the establishment of the regime, which lasted there till September 11 2001," he said.

The governor is positively sure that "Russian presence in Middle Asia and Afghanistan, in particular, is necessary." Speaking about the aid to Kabul, Gromov stated that it should be limited to technical cooperation. "But not for free," he stressed.

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