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Afghanistan: Delegation Reportedly Seeking Support Of General Dostom

Almaty, 18 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - An Afghan government delegation reportedly arrived yesterday in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent to enlist the support of Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostom, an opposition warlord and ethnic Uzbek, in its battle against the Taliban Islamic militia.

Mohamed Ghafuri, a diplomat at the Afghan embassy in Tashkent, told Agence France Press that secret negotiations would last three days and would take place "somewhere in Uzbekistan." General Dostom is now living in northern Afghanistan, and controls nine northern provinces that form parts of the borders between Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Ghafuri said the government delegation includes Afghanistan's Interior Minister Yunus Qanuni as well as Homayun Dzharir, the son-in-law of Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

The Taliban last week seized two Afghan provinces, extending its control to about 60 percent of Afghan territory and prompting Kabul to search for new military alliances.