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08 Dec 1998 description

Tokyo (dpa) - Senior officials from 15 nations Tuesday condemned the murder and injuring of humanitarian and other workers in Afghanistan and expressed strong support for United Nations initiatives in the troubled country.

The forum on Afghanistan ended Tuesday at Japan's Foreign Ministry, with some 100 participants discussing humanitarian aid and ways to find peace in the country.

The biannual forum, the fourth of its kind, focused on ''recent major developments'' in Afghanistan, the ministry said, alluding to increased tension between Iran and the …

03 Dec 1998 description
report Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, (Dec. 2) IPS - The United Nations intends installing a dozen monitors in major population centers in Afghanistan to help deter "massive and systematic violations of human rights" by that country's armed factions.

In a report this week, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the monitors -- to be deployed by early 1999 -- would form a separate civil affairs unit of the existing U.N. Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA), which has been largely unable to verify charges of rights abuses recently.

30 Nov 1998 description

Afghanistan's anti-landmine campaigners have voted to press ahead with efforts to ban the lethal weapons and vowed to closely monitor both sides in the country's bitter civil war.

The vote, held by the Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines, won immediate support from the Taliban's supreme leader, Mulla Mohammad Omar, who endorsed international efforts to ban production and stockpiling of mines.

In a statement, he said dozens of countrymen had fallen prey to the blind terrorism of landmines which are also considered a major threat to the reconstruction of Aghanistan.

04 Nov 1998 description

KABUL, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement said on Wednesday it would allow nine expelled Western aid agencies to resume relief work in the capital Kabul because they had agreed to move to new accommodation.

"We have received letters from nine non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in which they have promised to relocate their operations to the Polytechnic (institute) compound," Raaz Mohammad, head of the Taleban planning ministry's department for NGOs, said.

More than 35 NGOs, largely funded by the European Commission, were expelled from Kabul in …

30 Oct 1998 description

ISLAMABAD, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taleban Islamic movement and its foes have suspended an exchange of prisoners because of wrangling and shooting, a Pakistan-based Afghan news service said on Friday.

Afghan Islamic Press, quoting its own sources, said the exchange between the Taleban and Ahmed Shah Masood, the military commander of the ousted Afghan government, was suspended half way through on Thursday.

The two sides agreed to free 1,000 detainees each under the terms of a week-long truce that came into force on Tuesday.

But AIP said only 106 prisoners …

20 Oct 1998 description

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's anti-Taleban opposition said on Tuesday aid agencies could resume their suspended flights to the capital Kabul on fixed days and times without having to fear rocket attacks.

"There is no problem from our side," Engineer Arif, a spokesman for opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood, told Reuters. "They can start flying to Kabul at any time.

20 Oct 1998 description

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Afghan opposition forces have recaptured the strategic northeastern town of Taloqan, the third time it has changed hands in three days, a Pakistan-based Afghan news service reported on Monday.

The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said the forces of opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood retook Taloqan, capital of Takhar province, in a counter-offensive shortly after losing it to the Taleban Islamic militia on Sunday evening.

It quoted Taleban sources in Kandahar, the headquarters of the purist Islamic movement, as confirming the town was now under the control …

19 Oct 1998 description

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended flights to the Afghan capital Kabul after an increase in rocket attacks on the airport, an ICRC spokesman said on Monday.

"We will resume flying back to Kabul when we get assurances from the opposition that there is no danger of rockets landing when we use the airport," Juan Martinez told Reuters a day after a rocket hit the airport a few minutes after an ICRC plane had taken off.

The rocket attacks on the airport, which is also used for Taleban military …

15 Oct 1998 description

Tensions between Iran and Afghanistan have eased after both sides promised to swap prisoners.

A senior official of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban says the agreement followed four hours of talks, mediated by the United Nations.

The agreement will also see both sides meeting again in Saudi Arabia to normalise relations, which have sharply deteriorated in recent months.

No date has been set for the prisoner exchange.

=A9 1998 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Thu Oct 15 04:45:00 1998 ( AEST )
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time

13 Oct 1998 description

By Tahir Ikram

ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Islamic Taleban militia made significant advances in the north-east of the country on Tuesday after heavy overnight fighting with opposition forces, a Peshawar-based Afghan source said.

He said the Taleban advanced a few kilometres (miles) in Ghorband valley in Parwan province after heavy fighting with forces loyal to Ahmed Shah Masood, military chief of the ousted Afghan government.

The Taleban forces remain only five km (three miles) from the northern entrance of Salang Pass, a strategic route that links Kabul to the …

09 Oct 1998 description

By Raja Asghar

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9 (Reuters) - U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said overnight he was still optimistic about his efforts to ease tension between Iran and Afghanistan's Taleban despite reports of border clashes.

"I hope that it (the report) is exaggerated by the press...and that it will be contained...

08 Oct 1998 description

A unit of Iranian Revolutionary Guards has clashed with Taliban forces on the border with Afghanistan after the Islamic militia fired shots at an Iranian border post.

Relations between Shiite Muslem Iran and Sunni Muslem Taliban plunged after the fall of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif to the religious militia in August.

Eight Iranian diplomats and one journalist were killed by the militia after the fall of the city.

Iran has massed large military forces near the border and is about to carry out military maneouvres involving nearly 200,000 troops.

=A9 1998 Australian …

02 Oct 1998 description

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taleban Islamic militia said Iranian jets and helicopters violated Afghan airspace three times on Friday, a Pakistan-based Afghan news agency reported.

Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted a Taleban official as saying that between 8.30 to 11 a.m. (0400-0630 GMT) Iranian jet fighters in three separate instances entered Afghan air space in Nimroz province bordering Iran.

The official said that at least 10 Iranian jets flew in one violation, 15 jets flew in another instance and 10 helicopters in a third violation.

30 Sep 1998 description

ISLAMABAD, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A pilot in the anti-Taleban opposition flew his airplane to Kabul and defected to the Islamic militia overnight, an Afghan news agency said on Wednesday.

The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said the pilot defected to the Taleban on Tuesday in his Russian Antonov 32 cargo plane after delivering military supplies from Tajikistan to Ahmed Shah Masood, military chief of the ousted Afghan government.

AIP said the pilot, Muhammad Khan, had been in contact with the Taleban for the last few days through relatives. He had initially wanted to bring ammunition with the …

30 Sep 1998 description

Military flexes along border. Power struggle back in Tehran may determine next move.

MASHHAD, IRAN - Iran continues to amass its military forces along this tense border with Afghanistan. Whether its troops cross over may ultimately depend on who wins a power struggle back in the capital, Tehran.

Iranian options range from armed attack to diplomatic persuasion, but few offer the solace or revenge that many Iranians expect, diplomats and analysts say.

28 Sep 1998 description

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The Taleban on Monday demanded recognition as the government of Afghanistan, two years after the movement seized power in Kabul and embarked on a mission to create the world's purest Islamic state.

"We call for recognition by the international community which is something we deserve and the world knows this," Taleban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmean told Reuters.

The U.N.

23 Sep 1998 description

ISLAMABAD, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taleban Islamic movement said on Wednesday it had seized control of a key road between Kabul and Bamiyan town in central Afghanistan after routing opposition Hezb-i-Wahdat forces.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency quoted a Taleban spokesman as saying the opposition fighters put up stiff resistance at a few places but were defeated by the militia.

Taleban forces have been trying to consolidate their gains in central Afghanistan since capturing Bamiyan from the Iranian-backed Shi'ite Hezb-i-Wahdat faction this …

23 Sep 1998 description

Closed-door arguments began in Iran's parliament over the deaths of eight diplomats and a journalist last month in neighboring Afghanistan by troops of the ruling Taliban movement. As the lawmakers assembled in Tehran, the capital, the government underscored its readiness for retaliation by sounding air-raid sirens. Iran has massed 270,000 troops on the Afghan border. In response, the Taliban has deployed missiles that a spokesman said would be "used well" if Iran attacked.

22 Sep 1998 description

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taleban militia on Tuesday convened a meeting of influential Islamic scholars to discuss the crisis with neighbouring Iran.

The Kabul gathering, the first since the radical Sunni Moslem militia swept to power in 1996, was called by the Taleban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

"The first step will be focused on finding ways to ease the tension and to advise Tehran that war is not in the benefit of Islam," Abdur Rahman Hotak, deputy information minister, told Reuters.

"If Iran resorted to …

22 Sep 1998 description

DUBAI, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The Afghan Taleban movement has deployed missiles on the Iranian border and is ready to take fighting across the frontier if Tehran attacks, a senior Taleban official said in remarks published on Tuesday.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan, acting foreign minister of the Islamic militia, also told the UAE's al-Khaleej newspaper in an interview that Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden has promised to refrain from taking any future action from Afghan territory.

Asked to confirm reports that the Taleban had deployed missiles on the border with Iran, Hassan said: "We …