Afghan Opposition Nears Agreement on Loya Jirga Delegates
The opposition Northern Alliance was set to announce Wednesday its line-up for a national gathering which will seek to decide a new government for Afghanistan, a senior member said.
"We expect today to fix a date and place to meet representatives of the king (the exiled Mohammad Zahir Shah)," said Yunus Qanuni, interior minister of the Northern Alliance.
He said the high council of the anti-Taliban coalition had been meeting for the past three days in Cherkat, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Kabul.
"It is important that we reach agreement on our representation in the meeting with the king's delegation," Qanuni said.
The meeting was expected to take place last weekend in Turkey, but could now go ahead in Afghanistan itself, opposition official Mehrabudin Mastan said in Paris on Tuesday.
The Northern Alliance and aides to the ousted king, who lives in exile in Rome, are seeking to bring together a Loya Jirga, a traditional council of elders, to decide a future government if the Taliban is ousted.
A Loya Jirga, according to Afghan tradition, is a special meeting of all Afghan religious, tribal and ethnic factions called in times of turmoil to unite the country's fractious clans and ethnic groups.
However, the Northern Alliance battling the Taliban has been beset in the past by rivalries among its different ethnic components and warlords -- CHERKAT, Afghanistan, (AFP)
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