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Pakistan: No One Power Should Take Control of Afghanistan - 2001-11-10

Pakistan on says no one faction should be allowed to take power in Afghanistan. Pakistan's foreign ministry made the comment after Northern Alliance troops took control of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

Northern Alliance troops moved quickly Saturday to assert their control over areas surrounding Mazar-e-Sharif. Alliance commanders say they captured Hairatan, a town along the Afghan border with Uzbekistan.

With the capture of Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern Alliance forces now have direct supply lines north to Uzbekistan and control over the major airport in northern Afghanistan.

Reacting to the Northern Alliance victory, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Aziz Khan said Islamabad would like to see a broad-based coalition run any post-Taleban government in Afghanistan. "Pakistan would like to see a permanent solution to the Afghan problem so that a government that is broad-based and multi-ethnic and acceptable to the Afghan people is established there," Mr. Aziz said.

Mr. Khan also says no one faction should be allowed to take the capital, Kabul.

His comments came as U.S. B-52 bombers shifted their strikes away from the northern city on Saturday to Taleban front line positions north of Kabul. Taleban authorities say they withdrew from their positions around Mazar-e-Sharif on Friday because of the heavy U.S. bombing strikes.

The Afghan Islamic press which has close ties to Taleban authorities says 133 civilians were killed when U.S. bombs fell on three villages in Khakrez district, in Kandahar province. The report cannot be independently confirmed.

Now that they control Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern Alliance commanders say they are planning to move south to capture the town of Pul-i-Khumri, on the main road south to Kabul. Alliance commanders say the capture of the northern province of Kunduz which borders Tajikistan is also a top priority.