On August 30, it was reported by Russia that their foreign ministry condemned the appointment of Saudi terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Afghanistan?s ruling Taliban government. Russian media quoted Pakistan?s Nation newspaper as saying that the Taliban had named bin Laden commander of their troops. It isn?t clear when this appointment was made. The ministry stated that bin Laden?s appointment confirmed that a center of international terrorism was being set up in Afghanistan.

Moscow also condemned the appointment of Juma Namangani as bin Laden?s deputy. Namangani has been linked to raids on the Russian province of Kyrgyzstan during the last three years. Namangani advocates creation of an Islamic state run by a regime similar to the Taliban?s and spreading over Central Asia.

According to the Russian statement, ?Pseudo-religious values are being used as a cover to prepare a bridgehead for expansion of militant extremism and separatism far beyond the region?s borders.? Hundreds of Russian border guards monitor the border between Russia and Afghanistan. The Taliban?s goal of creating an extreme orthodox Islamic state has given rise to many Islamic extremist movements in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. In recent years, Islamic insurgents from Afghanistan launched raids on Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The Taliban?s ongoing clashes with Afghanistan?s Northern Alliance movement, which backs backing ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani, have given rise to arms smuggling, drug trafficking, kidnapping and other crimes, which have flourished along the Afghan-Tajik border.

According to the Russian statement, ?Incorporation of the international terrorists? leaders into the ruling structures of the Taliban shows the need to take decisive measures to collectively counter global challenges that are put forward from the Taliban-controlled territory.?

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