Press: Afghan Opposition Commander Predicts Endgame in Pakistan
The war in Afghanistan between the ruling Taliban and opposition Northern Alliance will end "where it was conceived," in Pakistan, the opposition's military commander predicted in an interview published Saturday.
Ahmad Shah Masood, whose troops are entrenched in the northeast of Afghanistan, told the Izvestiya newspaper that the main cause of the war was "interference from outside in the internal conflict."
"Pakistan has achieved its aggressive objectives with other people's hands. This war, which was planned abroad, will end there, where it was conceived," he told the paper.
"Even more categorically, the Afghan war will end in Pakistan," he added.
Pakistan is one of the few countries to have recognized the Taliban government as opposed to the exiled administration of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Masood estimated that up to 1,700 Pakistani troops were fighting on the Taliban side in its long-running confrontation with the Northern Alliance.
He added, for the benefit of Izvestiya's Russian readership, that "a Chechen detachment had joined the Taliban some time in November," bringing its total number of foreign mercenaries to around 3,000.
The Taliban Isalmic militia are thought to control about 90 percent of Afghan territory, although Massod told Izvestiya that Northern Alliance now controlled "between 20 and 25 percent" of the country -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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