Afghan Opposition Doubts Peace Talks, Calls for Revolt Against Taliban
The head of one of the main Afghan opposition parties said Monday he was not optimistic about peace talks with the Taliban, saying Afghans should instead revolt against the Islamic militia.
"There is no other solution and we must all revolt against the Taliban and put an end to the civil war," Gulbeddin Hekmatyar, head of the Hezb-e Eslami party, told a Tehran press conference.
He also hinted that the United States, already angered over the Taliban's sheltering of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, could attack Afghanistan from Tajikistan if Russia approved such a move.
"We are not very optimistic about results from negotiations between the opposition and the Taliban," he said.
Francesc Vendrell, special representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Afghanistan, announced in New York on Friday that the Taliban and its rivals had agreed to UN-sponsored peace talks.
The ultra-hardline Muslim Taliban, who now control some 90 percent of the country after ousting President Burhannudin Rabbani in 1996, have also expressed doubt about the success of the talks.
They claim opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood, who is still in control in some pockets of the north of the country, is receiving Russian and Iranian military support, while the opposition says the militia's ranks are swelled with Pakistani troops and Arab volunteers.
Iran has denied providing any military support to the Taliban, who are recognized as the official power in Kabul only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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