Abdullah Abdullah: Rabbani will not Head Afghan Interim Council

Published December 1st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Ousted Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani will not head the country's new interim government, the Northern Alliance foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah said on Saturday. 

"The head of the transitional authority will not be the president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan," Abdullah told a news conference.  

Rabbani, a key Northern Alliance leader who was ousted from Kabul by the Taliban in 1996, is still the UN-recognized head of state. 

Abdullah added that the Northern Alliance, also known as the United Front, did not expect to name one of its own members to lead the interim council. 

The head "will not be necessarily from the United Front," he said, sidestepping a question on the role of former Afghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah, who is favored by the international community to act as figurehead for the new power-sharing government. 

The top Northern Alliance delegate at UN-sponsored inter-Afghan talks near Bonn said earlier Saturday that the alliance may agree a deal irrespective of Rabbani's view. 

"In the event that Ustad (professor, referring to Rabbani) does not agree, we will refer to public opinion," Yunus Qanooni said, implying that the powerful delegation would act on its own.  

"We want to stand with our people, not with personalities. This is what I want to say," Qanooni said. 

Qanooni, the alliance's chief negotiator, is a political heavyweight close to Abdullah and defense minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who has replaced the alliance's slain legendary leader Ahmad Shah Masood. 

Rabbani, the symbolic president of Afghanistan under the chaotic rule of the resistance groups after the overthrow of the Moscow-backed regime of president Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, is seen to oppose the deal now being thrashed out in Germany. 

But he has come under intense pressure from the United Nations to accept its blueprint power-sharing agreement -- KABUL (AFP) 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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