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India Says No Taleban In Next Afghan Government - 2001-10-31


Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has written to the leaders of 12 nations to press for the exclusion of the Taleban from any future Afghan government.

An Indian government minister, Pramod Mahajan, said Tuesday that the Prime Minister feels it is hard to tell who in the Taleban is a moderate and who is a hard-liner.

In the letter, Mr. Vajpayee said any post-Taleban government should be broad-based and representative of Afghanistan's different ethnic and religious groups.

He also asked that the Group of Eight economic powers and Afghanistan's neighbors form a group to discuss rebuilding Afghanistan. The country has suffered through nearly 30 years of civil war in addition to drought and the current U-S-led air strikes against the Taleban and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Nations the letter was sent to include the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany. Russia has also said it opposes including the Taleban in the next Afghan government, while the United States has not ruled out the possibility of moderate, low-level Taleban members participating.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mahajan told reporters in New Delhi that India's main political parties are concerned about civilian casualites in Afghanistan.

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