Kazakh leader says no need for anti-Taleban strikes
ALMATY, May 29 (Reuters) - Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Monday he did not believe in the need for Russian military strikes against the Taleban militia which controls most of Afghanistan.
Senior Russian officials, including Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev, have spoken of possibly launching ``preventive strikes'' attacks against the Taleban, which Russia accuses of training and arming rebels in its North Caucasus region of Chechnya.
``I do not think this needs to be done, I do not think preventive attacks are necessary at the moment,'' Nazarbayev said in remarks aired by state television channel Khabar.
Nazarbayev's comment echoed Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who said recently that plans to attack Taleban bases were largely ``empty.''
But Nazarbayev said he shared Russia's perception that instability in the volatile Central Asian region bordering Afghanistan also posed a threat to its own security.
``Russia has said that destabilisation in Central Asia threatens its own stability. This is more important than any of these remarks that we are hearing every day and will keep hearing in future,'' he added.
Russia has vowed to defend the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan and keeps a force of 11,000 men to guard the Tajik-Afghan border.
But some Russian army officials have warned such strikes could be counterproductive as they could stir further instability in the region. The Taleban has denied providing any material assistance to the Chechen rebels.
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