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Central Asia: Pakistani FM In Kazakhstan to Discuss Afghanistan

Almaty, 18 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan arrived today in the Kazakh capital of Almaty to discuss the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Khan told reporters that the purpose of his visit is to explain his country's support for the Taliban Islamic militia, which already controls most of Afghanistan.

Khan also said that he will discuss with Kazakh government officials a Pakistani proposal to hold an international conference on Afghanistan under UN auspices. No date nor venue of the conference has been given yet.

Tomorrow, Khan travels onto Tajikistan.

The former Soviet Central Asian republics, neighbouring Afghanistan, have been suspicious of the fundamentalist Taliban and fear a spread of fighting across their borders. Pakistan recognised the Taliban late last month.

Meanwhile the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reports Taliban allies captured the northern city of Kunduz. The report, which has not been confirmed independently, said that pro-Taliban local commanders last night forced a commander loyal to opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood to flee the city, about 250 km north of Kabul.