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Afghanistan: UN Calls For End To Military Support

United Nations, 29 July 1999 (RFE/RL) -- As Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement launched its first major military offensive in 10 months Wednesday, the UN Security Council called for an end to all outside military support to the country's warring factions.

The Islamic Taliban militia controls 90 percent of Afghanistan and would take the entire country if its offensive against the forces of rebel leader Ahmad Shah Masood is successful.

"Members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern at reports on the resumption of major hostilities by the Taliban," council president Agam Hasmy of Malaysia told reporters.

Last week the warring sides met with Afghanistan's six neighboring countries -- China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzebekistan -- as well as with representatives of the United States in Russia in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent and agreed only to allow humanitarian aid into Afghanistan.

Despite this, UN and Red Cross aid flights into Kabul were diverted yesterday after three rockets were fired at the Afghan capital.

The Taliban accuses Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan of aiding the opposition alliance, which in turn accuses Pakistan of backing the Taliban.

During the Tashkent talks last week, the UN special representative, Lakhdar Brahimi said that arms were "pouring" into Afghanistan from neighboring countries. He also urged the fighting parties to realize that three years of war had failed to settle their power struggle.

"The council called for an immediate cessation of outside military support to all military factions in Afghanistan," the council president said.

The council also called on the Afghan parties to enter into peace negotiations, though Brahimi said this did not appear to be imminent.