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President Vladimir Putin chaired a Cabinet meeting

November 26, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow

The Cabinet discussed issues related to Russia’s humanitarian operation in Afghanistan. President Putin said that in the morning, 12 Russian military transport aircraft had been unloaded in the space of five and a half hours at Kabul airport.

Civil engineers, specialists, diplomats, and staff from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry arrived in Kabul to rebuild the Russian Embassy and establish a humanitarian centre for Afghans. According to Mr Putin, the safe landing and take off were carried out jointly with the Americans.

Mr Putin said that the Afghan Government asked Russia to provide humanitarian aid and took all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the staff of the Russian Embassy in Kabul. In future their security will be provided by their Afghan partners.

All the equipment and transport needed for the humanitarian centre have been delivered to Kabul. Mine clearance specialists have also arrived in Afghanistan; their primary task is to examine the road from the Bagram airfield to Kabul and the site where the centre will be located. Eighty eight Russian specialists, including security staff, will arrive in Kabul by the end of the week. Later the number of the centre’s staff will be increased to 200.

The centre’s primary task will be to provide the shipment of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries, in particular Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Furthermore, a hospital of the Russian Emergency Medicine Centre Zashchita with 30 beds will be established. The number of beds may be increased in future.

In September, on instructions from President Putin, a steering group on Afghanistan was set up. It consists of representatives from the Defence Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Ministry, Federal Security Service, Foreign Intelligence Service and Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information. Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov was appointed head of the group.

Mr Putin thanked everyone who participated in the difficult military-transport operation and added that it had been a while since Russia had carried out these kinds of operations.

November 26, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow