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November 17, 2001
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US envoy avoids meeting Northern Alliance

In a significant development indicating the widening chasm between the United States and the Northern Alliance, US special envoy James Dobbins did not meet any official of the victorious Northern Alliance, even as he held series of meetings with exiled ethnic leaders in Peshwar on a post-Taleban set-up in Afghanistan.

Dobbins has been given the task of coordinating with various Afghan factions to arrive at mutually acceptable post-Taleban set-up in Afghanistan.

Senior state department spokesman Philip Reeker said in Washington that Dobbin wasn't scheduled to go into Afghanistan.

"We continue to consult with a number of nations, and at the UN in terms of examining security options, possible structure of a multinational force and other things," he added.

Meanwhile, an agency report said United Nations deputy special envoy Francesc Vendrell, along with a Russian delegation had landed in Kabul, apparently to hold talks with the Northern Alliance leaders.

Amidst other reports that exiled former king Zahir Shah is planning to return to Afghanistan, spokesman of the ex-king in Rome said, "We are waiting (for) our brothers in the Northern Alliance to tell us of their preparedness, so that we can sit and form the Supreme Council for National Unity of Afghanistan."

The alliance, comprising ethnic minority groups opposed to the Pushtoon-dominated Taleban, has agreed to participate in the UN-backed council.

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For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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