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November 23, 2001
2145 IST

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Northern Alliance 'in touch' with Pakistan: Report

Afghanistan President Burhanuddin Rabbani has said that Pakistan should not consider him an enemy because of his good relations with India, amid reports that some Northern Alliance leaders were in touch with Islamabad to mend fences.

Rabbani told Urdu newspaper Ausaf in an interview that his 'good relations' with India and Russia does not mean that he is anti-Pakistan.

The president said he had good relations with Pakistani leaders in the past and has no ill designs against the neighbouring country.

Media reports in Islamabad on Friday said that both Rabbani and senior Northern Alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostum were in touch with the Pakistan government to assure that they wanted tension free, cordial and friendly relations with Pakistan.

Encouraged by their messages, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf told a cabinet meeting earlier this week that Rabbani and Dostum 'have shown noble gestures', The Nation reported.

In his interview, Rabbani said he had not publicly criticised Pakistan, which he alleged played an important role in toppling his government in 1996.

Rabbani said he and former Afghan premier Gulbudin Hekmatyar were ousted from Afghanistan after they had refused 'taking dictation' from the US, and added that Islamic nations betrayed Taleban, as was done in his case.

He alleged that the Taleban had refused to hand over prime suspect behind September 11 terror attacks Osama bin Laden on the directives of the Islamic countries, but 'in the end they (Islamic countries) refused to help the Taleban'.

Rabbani said Pakistan had every right to take its own decision, but one thing was clear that anti-Pakistan sentiments were prevailing in Afghanistan.

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