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Afghanistan's Rabbani: U.N. to Decide Fate of Foreign Taleban Fighters - 2001-11-25


The nominal head of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance says foreigners who fought alongside the Taleban and surrender to Alliance forces could be turned over to the United Nations.

Speaking at a news conference today (Sunday) in Kabul, Burhanuddin Rabbani sought to assure the safety of foreign fighters who lay down their weapons, saying he has instructed Alliance military commanders not to harass them. The former Afghan president insisted that fears Alliance forces would massacre the fighters were unfounded.

Mr. Rabanni also said that the Taleban, as an organization, will not be included in any transitional Afghan government, but that individual members could take part, provided they were not guilty of crimes.

Mr. Rabbani, whose government is still recognized by the United Nations, was ousted in 1996 after three years in office when the Taleban seized power.

The Northern Alliance, which is dominated by Afghanistan's ethnic minority groups, will have the most representatives at the multi-party Afghan conference, set to convene Tuesday in Bonn, Germany.

Mr. Rabbani has said he agrees with U-N officials that the permanent government in Afghanistan must include Pashtuns -- the country's largest ethnic group. Most Taleban members are Pashtuns.

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