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Putin Supports US Military Action in Afghanistan - 2001-10-09

Russian President Vladimir Putin has again expressed his firm support for U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan. The remarks from the Russian leader, which came after news of a second night of strikes.

President Putin said terrorists in Afghanistan had miscalculated and would now suffer the consequences. Referring to what he termed the "monstrous" attacks on the United States, the Russian leader said the actions of the terrorists had only served to unite the world against them. He said, "such colossal losses cannot be ignored, and cannot but lead to an appropriate response."

Mr. Putin said that if terrorists had been able to maneuver among different centers of power in the past, they will not be able to do so this time around. He spoke on national television Monday night following a meeting with senior ministers.

Meanwhile, fighting between Taleban troops and the Northern Alliance was reported at three locations in Afghanistan near the border with Tajikistan. The Northern Alliance said on Monday that it is preparing a major offensive that would target the capital, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif, among other places.

On Tuesday, the former Soviet Republic of Tajikistan said it is opening its airspace for U.S. warplanes to conduct strikes on targets in Afghanistan. Tajikistan, which has a 1,300 kilometer-long border with Afghanistan, says it will also make airbases available to U.S. forces if necessary.

Last week, neighboring Uzbekistan gave the United States permission to use its airspace for humanitarian missions.

Britain's Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon arrived in Moscow Tuesday for a one-day visit and talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov. British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in Moscow last week for talks with President Putin to discuss efforts to combat terrorism.