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December 1, 2001
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Afghan talks stalled: UN

With Afghan groups discussing the formation of an interim government in Afghanistan failing to come up with a result on Saturday, the talks were extended to Sunday, the United Nations said on Saturday.

However, it appeared to be clear that neither the head of the Northern Alliance Burhanuddin Rabbani nor former king Zahir Shah was in the reckoning to head the interim government.

Eighty-seven-year-old Zahir Shah, who has lived in exile in Rome since 1973, was not considered a 'practical option', while Rabbani was not seen as a unifying figure.

One possible compromise candidate appeared to be Shah-loyalist and ethnic Pashtun tribal leader Hamid Karzai.

The earlier UN-initiated plan to have an interim parliament-style supreme council had to be abandoned after the Northern Alliance delegation demanded adjournment of the talks to confer with the leadership in Kabul.

The discussions were currently centred on the formation of a cabinet-style body to administer the country. Various factions were lobbying for portfolios in the body.

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