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Afghanistan: Iran Calls For Peaceful Afghan Solution

Tehran/Geneva, 1 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati repeated calls for a peaceful solution in Afghanistan during talks in Tehran today with a former Afghan president.

Velayati, meeting Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, said no group in Afghanistan can rule without the others. Mojadeddi is en-route to the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif to mediate between the Taliban and opposition forces.

Meanwhile, a UN refugee official said today that some 8,000 mainly ethnic Turkmen refugees have fled into Turkmenistan to escape the Taliban militia. Fernando Del Mundo, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said in Geneva the mainly women and children refugees have gathered in the last week some 25 kms south of the village of Taktabazar. He said at least six refugees had died of dehydration or from injuries.

Eric Michel-Selier of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Turkmen bureaucracy is preventing timely provision of aid.

The refugees reportedly fled Afghanistan after the Taliban captured several villages near the Murghab River dividing the two countries.