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Russia Offers Afghanistan Support to Fight Terrorism

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says Moscow is ready to provide support for Afghanistan's fight against terrorism, and is calling for coordinated international action against the country's drug problem.

Mr. Medvedev's comments came Wednesday during talks in Moscow with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who thanked him for Russia's concern and assistance.

The two leaders are meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon, as part of a four-day summit aimed at coordinating efforts to battle terrorism and counter regional drug trafficking.

NATO has urged Russia to provide military hardware and training for Afghan forces, and Moscow has said it is willing to help. However, Russia has made clear it has no plans to send troops to Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union waged a decade-long war in the 1980s before withdrawing.

The summit featured a rare direct encounter between Mr. Zardari and Mr. Karzai, whose Afghan government has repeatedly accused Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency of supporting the Taliban. Pakistan has adamantly denied the allegations.

The four leaders are also expected to discuss efforts to boost cooperation in the trade, energy, investment and transportation sectors.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.