Speech at a Meeting with International Fighters 2004-02-19 18:52:44 Novo-Ogaryovo Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Recently we celebrated 15 years since troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. I think that this will be a good opportunity to talk about an entire range of problems which are related to the veteran's movement as a whole and the people who fought in Afghanistan. I am certain that the time has come to stop all political fuss about the events that took place in Afghanistan. It is clear that these events require serious, scrupulous and objective analysis from politicians, historians, specialists, the military and so on. But another thing is also clear: those who fought in Afghanistan, those who kept their military oath, have nothing to be ashamed of and should not hide their eyes – you honestly performed your military duty, and in my opinion you have the right to expect the same attitude to what you did from society and the state. I know that the organisation for Afghanistan veterans does a great deal to support and aid you, but I think that the state also does something. I propose that we discuss these issues today. While some progress has been made recently, there are also some shortcomings. Let’s discuss these issues.