Moscow 007s arrest 15 Taliban sympathisers
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Four Tajiks and one Russian jailed; the others are being sent back to their countries of origin. According to the FSSB, they organised attacks "against the infidels". Together with China and Pakistan, the Kremlin has opened a channel of dialogue with the Afghan Taliban: it could come to regret it.   



Moscow (AsiaNews) - On September 23 the internal secret service (FSSB) arrested 15 members of a terrorist group active in the Sverdlovskaya Oblast, the Yekaterinburg region on the Urals. This was reported by Tass in a communication from the local branch of the SFB. The authorities detained five of those arrested in prison; the other 10 were expelled from Russia and sent back to their countries of origin.

Moscow's 007 seized about three kilograms of nitroglycerin from the terrorists. The five arrested, accused of organising attacks "against the infidels", are four citizens of Tajikistan and one Russian, all supporters of the Taliban movement. They had set up their hideout in the very central ulitsa Sverdlova in Ekaterinburg, where they held meetings in which they propagated jihad according to the ideology of the new masters of Afghanistan.

After the Taliban recaptured Kabul, the Kremlin began to fear the spread of the Afghan fundamentalists' ideology and possible attacks related to it. Terrorists can enter the country in the guise of common refugees and seek followers throughout the country, as the Tajiks arrested in Ekaterinburg appear to have done. It is no coincidence that the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rakhmon, does not miss an opportunity to warn that the new Taliban government constitutes a danger for the States that are more involved geographically and historically with the Afghan events.

Just days before the capture of the terrorists in the Urals, on 21-22 September, a meeting was held in Kabul between representatives of Russia, China and Pakistan together with the Taliban leaders to discuss common positions in the fight against terrorism, as the press room of the Russian Foreign Ministry had announced. Diplomats Zamir Kabulov, Yue Sayun and Mohammad Saddik met with Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and other members of the Taliban interim government.

The four sides made agreements "to counter terrorism and drug trafficking internationally". They also talked about human rights, the development of economic and humanitarian relations, also involving Afghanistan's neighbouring nations. According to the Russians, "the Taliban emphasised the privileged relationship" with Moscow, Beijing and Islamabad. The Afghan rulers then expressed their desire to exchange official ambassadors with them, as soon as the "recognition of the Islamic Emirate" is granted.

The Taliban assured that they had "changed a lot in these 25 years". Judging from the events in Ekaterinburg, however, this does not seem to correspond to reality, and Russia risks bitterly regretting its support for the old-new masters of Afghanistan.