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November 29, 2001
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US asks Russia not to recognise Rabbani 'government'

T V Parasuram in Washington

The United States has urged Russia not to recognise the de facto Northern Alliance government in Afghanistan and expressed concern over countries establishing diplomatic relations with the 'so-called Burhanuddin Rabbani government'.

The Rabbani government was recognised by the UN even when the Taleban ruled Kabul, but the US contends that does not mean that Washington recognises it, a senior Bush administration official said.

"The US is very unhappy that the Northern Alliance established itself in Kabul instead of staying outside the city as though an organisation representing 60 per cent of the population does not belong in their capital."

However, the US has firmly rejected the Pakistani theory that the 'good Taleban' have a place in the new government.

US officials, The Washington Times reports, applied pressure behind the scenes at the Afghan factions' meeting in Bonn on Wednesday urging them to form a broad-based interim government.

Urging Russia not to recognise the Alliance as the legal government of Afghanistan, the official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said, "We have some concern about countries rushing in to establish diplomatic relations with the so-called Rabbani government -- it is not going to be viable."

"The so-called rule of the Northern Alliance, headed by Rabbani, cannot be sustained because it represents only part of the coutry's ethnic groups," he said.

However, Alliance representative Yunis Qanooni assured the meeting in Bonn: "We do not intend to monopolise power."

The Alliance, he said, is ready to hand over power to 'a legitimate assembly' of Afghans from across the country.

The official said that US is working in the corridors in Bonn this week to persuade the Northern Alliance to share power in a broad-based government, including ethnic Pushtoons who constitute 40 per cent of the population.

Rabbani returned to Kabul earlier this month after the capital fell to Northern Alliance forces as the Taleban militia fled.

He has created what the United States and others -- now pressing for the creation of a broad-based Afghan government at a UN conference on Afghanistan's future in Bonn - hope will only be an interim authority.

PTI

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