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Russia, Afghanistan Pledge Economic, Diplomatic Cooperation

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during their meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, 21 Jan 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made his first official visit to Russia, where he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed agreements on economic and diplomatic cooperation.

In a joint news briefing Friday, Mr. Medvedev pledged to help rebuild Afghanistan's infrastructure, including several power plants and work on the Salang Tunnel, a key link between north and south Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai's visit marks a warming in relations between the two countries since the Soviet Union's failed invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and its military withdrawal 10 years later.

Mr. Medvedev also said he wishes every success to the U.S.-led international force in stabilizing Afghanistan, allowing Kabul to take care of its own security by 2014.

The two leaders also agreed to work together to fight the drug trade and drug-related crime in Afghanistan, the world's top opium producer.

Last October, Russian and U.S. special forces led a joint operation to destroy drug labs in Afghanistan.