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Afghanistan: Dostum Says No Ceasefire If Taliban Stay In Kabul

Jabal-os-Siraj, Afghanistan; 22 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The Afghan faction led by Abdul Rashid Dostam says the Taliban militia will have to leave Kabul if there is to be a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

Dostum's chief spokesman Mohammad Yousif said if the Taliban do not agree to Dostum's terms and do not leave Kabul they will be responsible for any future fighting.

Dostum's commander Majid Roozi told RFE/RL's correspondent in Jabal-os-Siraj that Dostum's northern forces have not joined in the fight against the Taliban yet. He said they are waiting for the outcome of continuing ceasefire negotiations. But Roozi added if the talks fail, "talk is certainly about Kabul."

Dostum, who controls six provinces and has the largest fighting force in Afghanistan, after the Taliban, has forged an alliance with the forces of ousted military chief Ahmad Shah Masoud. Masoud's army has been waging a fierce war with the strictly-Islamic Taliban on the outskirts of the capital of Kabul, which the Taliban captured on September 27.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Masoud called on the Taliban to leave the city as well. He said Kabul should become a site of negotiations and understanding.

So far, the Taliban have been sending reinforcement into the capital and have vowed to defend it. Fierce fighting is now reported within 15 kilometers of Kabul and some parts of the city have been shelled with artillery and rocket fire.

Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to try and broker a ceasefire in the country. Pakistani Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar said he was hopeful a halt to the fighting could come within two or three days. He said all sides have agreed to stop fighting in principle, but some details need to be resolved.