Afghanistan: November 28, 2001


About 100 men from Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situations set up a temporary base in the center of Kabul after dark on 26 November, circling their 12 Kamaz trucks and building bonfires. According to Reuters, their presence was a source of rumor and even some consternation among "scores of spectators" the following day. Apparently, the western wire service failed to check with Itar-TASS, which covered President Vladimir Putin's announcement that the trucks had been unloaded at Kabul's airport on the morning of the 26th in 5 1/2 hours. 

One Russian worker told Reuters that they were there to build a field hospital and a temporary embassy while First Deputy Russian Emergency Situations Minister Yuriy Vorobyev told Interfax that they were deploying a humanitarian center in Afghanistan. Vorobyev added that the Russian humanitarian center in Kabul was being deployed at the permission of the legitimate Afghan authorities and in close coordination with US representatives.

According to Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu, it will take $600 million to accomplish the first stage of Afghanistan's reconstruction and that the first task was to help the Afghans to live through the winter. He noted that the group of 88 Russian specialists, including a group of security guards headed by Deputy Minister Colonel-General Valery Vostrotin, was expected to be increased to 200 in the future.

Most Afghans and even more journalists don't realize that the Emergency Services Ministry was frequently targeted by Chechen rebels during the Second Chechen War. The AK-74s these Russians carry are a precaution borne of bad experiences. - Adam Geibel

The northern fortress of Qala-e-Jangi has finally, after the last rebellious foreign Taliban were killed. NGOs are demanding an investigation to determine if the rights of the Taliban prisoners were violated in any way.

U.S. bombers are concentrating on Kandahar, hitting military and leadership (ie, where the leaders are thought to be staying) targets in and around the city.


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