Russians Probe Afghan Arrests for Chechnya Link

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Twelve Afghans arrested in Dagestan are under investigation to see whether they were attempting to join rebels in Chechnya, Kremlin sources said Thursday. 

The Afghans were arrested Wednesday after illegally crossing the frontier from Azerbaijan into Dagestan, a Russian republic bordering Chechnya, Dagestani interior ministry officials said. 

Moscow has accused the ruling Talibans in Afghanistan of backing Chechen rebels in their separatist combat against Russia. 

Moscow and the United States jointly sponsored a resolution approved by the United Nations Security Council this week strengthening international sanctions against Kabul because of its alleged support for terrorism. 

Meanwhile Russia's military headquarters said that three Chechens were killed in clashes with federal troops in Urus Martin in the republic's southwest region. It did not say when the clashes occurred. One Russian was injured. 

A total of 27 detonators were also found in a Chechen vehicle in Stavropol, in the north of the republic, police said Thursday. 

Russian aircraft also flew 30 missions over the republic and destroyed three rebel bases, the military news agency AVN reported -- MOSCOW (AFP) 



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