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Afghanistan: Masood Calls For Taliban To Withdraw From Kabul

Kabul, 18 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The leader of forces loyal to Afghanistan's deposed government, Ahmad Shad Masood, today called for Taliban Islamic forces to withdraw from Kabul.

Masood also told Reuter news agency in a town north of Kabul that a limited international force, under United Nations supervision, should be placed in control of Kabul to pave the way for all-party talks on a broad-based government.

Masood's forces and Taliban forces have traded control of territory north of Kabul, with reinforced Taliban forces reported making the most gains over the past couple of days.

Two days of talks on a ceasefire and setting up a broad-based government were held this week at the northern headquarters of faction leader Abdul Rashid Dostum. Dostum, who has allied his forces with deposed President Burhanuddin Rabbani, said he would send a delegation to Taliban headquarters at Kandahar for more talks.

Russia and the United States are pursuing a resolution in the U.N. Security Council, calling for an immediate ceasefire and a halt to arms shipments to Afghanistan. The U.S. version calls for condemnation of Taliban for human rights abuses, especially against women. Russia's version calls for an end to outside interference in Afghanistan.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has sent a message to Western capitals containing Moscow's assessment of developments in Afghanistan, and proposals for resolving the situation.