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Afghanistan: President Asks For Turkey's Support

Ankara, 10 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Afghanistan's ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani says he intends to form a new government and has asked Turkey for assistance. In an interview published today in a Turkish daily, Rabbani also said he is ready to pursue peace talks with the Taliban Islamic militia, which control Kabul and about two-thirds of Afghanistan.

Another Turkish daily today publishes an interview with ethnic Uzbek commander Rashid Dostum, whose forces control a section of northern Afghanistan. Dostum says continued fighting might be the only way to gain a clear result for the country. He also said he wants to participate in a new government formed by Rabbani.

Dostum said a planned gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan must be approved by him and his supporters. And he said Turkmenistan's policy of neutrality might be jeopardized if Taliban forces seek to expand their influence to Central Asia.