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    SOVIET INVASION IN AFGHANISTAN - "GREAT POLITICAL MISTAKE"

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alla Stambolidi). According to Moscow region governor Boris Gromov, the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in 1979 was a great political mistake, which resulted in unjustified deaths of thousands of Soviet soldiers. General Gromov, one of the former Soviet commanders in Afghanistan, addressed a press conference on the 15th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from this country in Moscow on Tuesday.

    According to the general, 13,833 people were killed in his 40th army only during the nine-year war.

    However, after the American intervention in Afghanistan in 2002, this country remains "one of the international terrorist centers and hotspots", Gromov said. The Taliban movement, the begetter of "terrorist number one Osama bin Laden" has not been entirely annihilated.

    Nevertheless, Moscow and Kabul "should work out joint positions", as Afghanistan belongs to the sphere of Russia's interests, General Gromov said.

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