Tuesday, December 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pact on govt eludes Afghans
Rabbani flexible, proposes 4 nominees

Bonn (Germany), December 3
After talking late into the night, bleary-eyed Afghans rose before dawn today for a seventh day of negotiating a post-Taliban government, their efforts clouded by fresh remarks from Kabul.

The four Afghan factions represented at the UN-sponsored talks in a top-security hotel outside Bonn have generally agreed the outline of an interim government but still face the most difficult task of choosing 29 persons for a new cabinet.

The UN had initially set a goal of last Saturday to reach an accord, but officials now say the slow-moving talks could continue through this week.

Reshaping the government could sideline Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani, who is still recognised by the UN, but his grumbling in Kabul threatens the deal.

In an interview with The Washington Post published today, Mr Rabbani proposed a new plan to keep him and his coalition in power for up to six more months, comments at odds with his delegation. He also ruled out any special role for former King Zahir Shah in the future of Afghanistan.

“My name would be for the leadership council,” Mr Rabbani said.

An adviser to the group backing former King Zahir Shah said they would propose the former monarch’s close aide Abdul Sattar Sirat to head the interim administration. An adviser to the dominant Northern Alliance said his group had backed the choice.

KABUL: Mr Burhanuddin Rabbani has decided to accept any one of four possible nominees to lead an interim Afghan administration, his spokesman said today.

“Mr Rabbani approved the UN proposal and authorised his delegation in Bonn to choose one of the below-mentioned candidates as the head of the interim administration,” his spokesman Sayed Najibullah Hashimi told Reuters on telephone. Reuters


Part of Kandahar airport with Oppn

Quetta (Pakistan), December 3
Opposition forces backed by US air power claimed to have captured half of Kandahar airport today and were engaged in fierce fighting with the Taliban and Al-Qaida forces.

They said tribal forces killed 11 foreign Taliban fighters and overran a building that appeared to have been used as an office by members of suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network.

Gul Lali, a key lieutenant to top opposition commander Gul Agha, said the dead foreigners belonged to the Al-Qaida, blamed for carrying out the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

“These were 11 of Bin Laden’s men, from Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia. Nineteen more were injured. We have now captured half of the airport,” he said. AFPBack

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