New American Ambassador To Afghanistan Discusses New Afghani Government In Pakistani Foreign Ministry

The new US Ambassador in Afghanistan James Dobbins arrived in Islamabad on Thursday, where he discussed with First Deputy Foreign Minister of Pakistan Inam-ul-Haq the creation of a broad representative government in Kabul, according to the state radio of Pakistan. It also reported that Dobbins was planning to meet several Afghani leaders before he departed for Kabul. On Wednesday, Dobbins met the ex-king of Afghanistan Zakhir-Shah. Following the seizure of Kabul and a number of provinces by the Northern Alliance, as well as a "popular uprising" in Afghanistan's eastern and southern areas that has left Pushtun warlords in power there, the international community will have to make new efforts to organize talks between various groups and factions. The UN, the "6+2 Group" members, the Islamic Conference Organization are unanimous that a broad-based government must be established; however, they have not worked out a joint position yet. After seizing Kabul, the "Northerners" announced de facto the creation of a new government headed by President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani, who arrived Thursday in Kabul and declared a general amnesty. The president is in favour of continuing negotiations with Afghan leaders about the creation of a coalition government, ruling out, however, any Taliban involvement. Islamabad and former Pushtun field commanders (who have become a new political force) are categorically against any preferences for the Northern Alliance, referring to the violence, ethnic purges and squaring of political accounts in 1992-96, when Kabul was ruled by Rabbani and Hekmatiar. In addition, Pakistan is insisting that the future Afghan government must be polyethnic and reflect the demographic composition of Afghanistan, which is 60% Pushtun-populated. Islamabad says "moderate" Taliban must be included in the future Afghan government and UN peacekeeping forces be deployed in a "demilitarised" Kabul. Islamabad has not ruled out that Pakistani troops may take part in a peacemaking operation, while it has welcomed the decision taken by Turkey to send its soldiers to Afghanistan. Much depends on the results of the international conference held in Abu-Dhabi with US' and Russia's participation. Those attending the conference are due to consider a UN Security Council plan worked out by Lakhdar Brahimi, Kofi Annan's special envoy for Afghanistan. The conference will start in three or four days.

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