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Afghanistan: Pakistani Delegation Represents First Official Visit

Kabul, 15 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Pakistan sent a high-ranking delegation to Kabul today led by Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar. It is the first foreign ministerial visit to the Taliban-held Afghan capital since the Islamic movement took over the city 18 days ago.

No country has yet recognized the Taliban government, but Taliban acting information minister Amir Khan Mutaqi says the visit paves the way for diplomatic recognition. He urged the international community to recognize the Taliban government.

According to Taliban's opponents, Pakistan has provided the militia with logistical support. Pakistan has denied that.

Mutaqi says Pakistani authorities plan to send a delegation to Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan for talks with General Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Uzbek fighters, who control six northern provinces. Dostum yesterday signed a political agreement with other militia opposing the Taliban.

Pakistan has offered to mediate between the Taliban and Dostum. Mutaqi says the Taliban does not have any problems with the forces in Mazar-i-Sharif and are ready to solve outstanding issues through negotiations and understanding.