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Afghanistan: Government Announces Ceasefire With Northern Rival

Kabul, 14 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan's government has again asserted that it has reached a formal ceasefire agreement with General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a rival faction leader in northern Afghanistan, .

Afghanistan's Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar yesterday announced agreement on the ceasefire. He noted that Dostum also had agreed to reopen one of besieged Kabul's most important road arteries, the Salang Highway, which links the capital to northern Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Reports say a government delegation remains at Dostum's headquarters at Mazar-i-Sharif. Talks include the possibility of Dostum and his allies joining the government.

Hekmatyar -- a former opposition faction leader himself -- joined the government in June.

Dostum yesterday denied a formal ceasefire agreement had been reached. But aides said a truce is being honored while talks continue with the government delegation at Dostum's headquarters.