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Gorbachev warns against rash Afghanistan moves

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BERLIN — Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended Moscow's nine-year military intervention in Afghanistan, called for caution in response to the attacks on the World Trade Centre in an interview published on Thursday.

"When one finds out that some terrorists studied in the Harburg area of Hamburg, one would not bomb Hamburg," Gorbachev told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper. "We shouldn't lose our heads. We need a dialogue with Islam."

The United States suspects that three students at Germany's Hamburg Technical University flew three of the four hijacked planes used in last week's attacks.

Gorbachev withdrew Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1988, ending a conflict that started at the end of 1979 and resulted in at least 13,000 Soviet deaths.

"This war was not only a trauma for us, it taught us an important lesson," the last Soviet leader said.

"How can one wage a conventional war in this mountainous country? By again introducing tanks and bombing cities? By sending in soldiers to bring areas under control? I cannot imagine this."