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Afghan: Taliban Rejects Rival Afghan Government

Kabul, 17 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Taliban today rejected a proposed new government in northern Afghanistan recently announced by the opposition alliance.

Sher Mohammad Stanekzai, the Taliban Deputy Foreign Minister, told Agence France Presse the Taliban believes the proposed government will not solve Afghanistan's problems and will not be acceptable to the people. The anti-Taliban alliance made up of ex-president Burhanuddin Rabbani, ethnic Uzbek general Abdul Malik and Shiite Muslim leader Karim Khalili have invited expatriate Afghans to join the new broad-based government. But Stanekzai said there were differences among the factions regarding the type of government.

He said the central government proposed by Rabbani's foreign minister Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai is different from the federal version announced by Khalili's Hezb-i-Wahdat faction. However, Stanekzai said the Taliban is still prepared for peace talks with the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Taliban militia said its forces based in the northern Afghan town of Baghlan launched an overnight offensive toward the city of Kunduz.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quotes Taliban officials as saying fighting is now going on near Kunduz, which is held by various opposition factions. There is no independent confirmation of the fighting.