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Northern Alliance Agrees to Power-Sharing Talks - 2001-11-18

Afghanistan's opposition northern alliance has agreed to take part in talks aimed at forming a post-Taleban government. Alliance officials have dropped their demands that the meeting take place in Kabul.

A main spokesman for the Northern Alliance, Haron Amin, appearing on a CBS television's Face the Nation, says his group will take part in upcoming power-sharing talks. "Our delegation should be heading soon into Europe," he added. "It seems it might be Germany that will be hosting the mediation soon."

Mr. Amin reaffirmed his group's commitment to forming a broad-based government in Afghanistan, saying it should include the participation of women and Pashtuns, the main ethnic group of the Taleban. But he rules out any role for the Taleban. "The important thing here is the people of Afghanistan," he said. "They have been so badly brutalized by the Taleban that there is no room for the Taleban in Afghanistan."

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed the Northern Alliance decision to take part in the talks. "The hold-up had been the Northern Alliance," he said, "and with this announcement today we should be able to move forward quickly." He says he hopes they take place within days, not weeks.

The United Nations has been pressing for a neutral site for the talks. It wants to underscore a commitment to forming a broad-based government that will include Afghanistan's many tribes and ethnic groups.