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UN : Taleban Can Play Role in any Future Government - 2001-09-27


The U-N special envoy for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, says he believes the hardline Taleban faction can play a role in any future government in Afghanistan.

He made the remarks at a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan. He said there is a role for every faction in Afghanistan if that group has the backing of the Afghan people.

Mr. Vendrell said he has had a meeting with 86-year-old former Afghan King Zahir Shah. King Zahir Shah has lived in Rome in exile since 1973. He is now being discussed as a possible sponsor of transition to a new Afghan government.

The U-N envoy said he found the king in good health and willing to help the Afghan people. Mr. Vendrell said the deposed king is not seeking a specific role.

Several exiled Afghan leaders and groups have called on Zahir Shah to convene a Loya Jirga, or traditional assembly. The Loya Jirga could elect a new leader and replace the five-year-old Taleban regime.

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