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Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 03:16 GMT
Rabbani 'still Afghan president'
Burhanuddin Rabbani
Rabbani backs the UN-sponsored conference
By the BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones in Kabul

The ousted President of Afghanistan, Burhanuddin Rabbani, has said that his government is the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Speaking in a BBC interview, Mr Rabbani, who lost power to the Taleban in 1996, said his government is still recognised by the United Nations.

UN peacekeepers
Rabbani has warned against international interference
Until another government was established, he said, his administration should be recognised as valid.

But he added that supported the idea of holding a loya jirga or national council in which all the different tribes and ethnic groups in Afghanistan would sit down and make a decision regarding the future leadership of the country.

Speaking about the forthcoming UN-sponsored conference of Afghan parties in Germany, Mr Rabbani said that it would be a good first step on the road towards establishing peace and stability.

But he also said it would be impossible to sort out all of Afghanistan's problems in just one meeting.

Asked whether there was a risk that the country would revert to a period of factional fighting, Mr Rabbani said that the defence ministry in Kabul planned to bring together all the various commanders who now controlled different parts of the country so that they could form a council and avoid any repetition of what happened in the past.

Burhanuddin Rabbani
"This government should be recognised as the legitimate government of Afghanistan"
See also:

23 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan talks delayed
21 Nov 01 | South Asia
US hopeful before Afghan talks
22 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan women to attend talks
20 Nov 01 | South Asia
Q&A: What will Afghan talks produce?
14 Nov 01 | South Asia
Rabbani's Afghan comeback
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