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Afghanistan: Both Sides Talking About A Ceasefire

Jabal Os-Siraj, Afghanistan; 21 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Both sides in the war in Afghanistan are talking about a ceasefire today -- but it is unclear whether they can agree to each other's conditions.

Abdullah, the spokesman for the ousted Afghan government's top commander, Ahmad Shah Masood, said today that his side is ready to sign a ceasefire agreement with the Taliban militia. But he set the condition that the capital Kabul should be "demilitarized."

On the other side, Syed Mohammed Haqqani, a spokesman for the radical Islamic Taliban in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, said Taliban has conditionally accepted a proposed ceasefire with its foes north of Kabul.

He said a ceasefire offer from militia chief General Abdul Rashid Dostum, conveyed yesterday by Pakistani Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar, has been accepted on condition that it be followed by an exchange of prisoners. Dostum's forces are in an alliance with Masood's soldiers and the government spokesman Abdullah said the allies are discussing the ceasefire proposals.

These developments come after Masood's forces lobbed rockets and shells at Taliban positions along a new road leading into northeastern Kabul earlier today.