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Russia: All Necessary Means Considered in Terrorism Fight - 2001-09-15

Russian officials say that all necessary means, including possible military action, must be considered in the fight against terrorism. However, the Russian officials say it is also important to plan carefully.

The Russian foreign minister says the use of force cannot be ruled out in the global effort to fight against terrorism. But Igor Ivanov adds that it is also necessary to consider the consequences of military action, which he calls "an extreme measure."

Mr. Ivanov says Russia believes political and diplomatic steps are just as important, and that Russia will propose a whole package of measures at the United Nations soon.

Russia has pledged to support the United States and other NATO countries in punishing those responsible for Tuesday's deadly terror attacks in the United States.

However, Russian leaders say Russian troops will not take any active part in possible military moves the United States may take.

Russia says there are no plans to stage possible raids against Afghanistan from neighboring Tajikistan, a country in which thousands of Russian troops are based.

Some kind of action against Afghanistan is considered likely because that is where suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is located.

U.S. officials say Mr. Bin Laden is a primary suspect in the terror attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon last Tuesday.

Given the focus on Afghanistan, a delegation of U.S. officials has arrived in Moscow to discuss the situation in that country with their Russian counterparts.

Russia's intelligence service is sharing information it has about terrorist groups located in Afghanistan.

Russia has extensive knowledge about the situation there given its long involvement in the region. Soviet troops fought a long and bloody, and eventually unsuccessful, war with Afghan guerrilla groups throughout the 1980s.

Given its concern about Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia, Russia has long been providing help to the Afghan coalition known as the Northern Alliance.

The alliance has been fighting against the Taleban, the hard-line Islamic group which currently controls most of Afghanistan.