Afghan Taliban Accuse UN of Inciting Fighting
Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel on Monday accused the United Nations of inciting Afghanistan's beleaguered opposition forces to war.
Mutawakel said the 20-year-old Afghan entanglement remained unsolved because the UN still recognized ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
"The United Nations does not prove its true impartiality and in effect encourages the opposition that they are the government ... and should fight because they have a legitimate status," he told a press conference.
The ruling Taliban militia, which has most of the country including the capital Kabul under its religious grip, is battling to wrest control of the remaining northeastern areas from the opposition forces.
In early summer they embarked on a vast military campaign which saw them sweep through key areas in the provinces of Kunduz and Takhar, including Taloqan city, a main opposition bastion which fell in early September.
But forces loyal to opposition commander and ex-defense minister Ahmad Shah Masood have closed in on Taloqan again after they recovered most of the lost ground in a major counter-attack early in October.
Mutawakel blamed Russian assistance for the opposition's resilience, citing a meeting in Tajikistan last week between Masood and Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev.
"This is the result of the Russian promises and talks with the opposition," he said.
Mutawakel said Masood had betrayed the Afghan holy war against the 1978-1988 Soviet occupation, when Masood was known as the "Lion of the Panjshir" for his successes as a guerrilla fighter.
Masood argues he can meet anybody as a representatives of the internationally recognized government of Afghanistan.
Rabbani holds the country's seat at the United Nations as well as almost all its political missions overseas while the ruling religious regime is recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Taliban accuse the opposition of receiving military backing from Moscow, Teheran and Central Asia while Masood supporters believe Pakistani regulars and Arabs are fighting with the militia.
Mutawakel categorically denied Pakistan's involvement -- KABUL (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)