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Discord Reported Among Afghan Factions - 2001-12-06

The agreement reached in Bonn Wednesday on installing a new, interim government in Afghanistan after eight days of marathon negotiations, was welcomed by the international community as a necessary step in rebuilding the country in the post-Taleban era. No one believes the task will be easy and there are already signs of discord among some of the factions that are to play a role in the future government.

The interim power sharing agreement is not due to take effect until December 22 but one faction leader is already threatening a boycott of the new government and another describing it as "unjust."

Ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose forces control much of the northern part of the country including Mazar-e-Shariff, said in an interview with the Reuters news agency that he will boycott the new government and his faction would not take the cabinet positions allocated to it. He said his group will not go to Kabul until there is, what he termed, a proper government in place.

General Dostum called the Bonn agreement a humiliation. His Junbish-i-Milli faction had been pushing to be given the foreign ministry post but received instead the minor portfolios of agriculture, mining and indutsry.

At a news conference here in Islamabad, Sayed Ahmed Gailani, who heads the ethnic Pashtun National Islamic Front of Afghanistan expressed his reservations about the make up of the new government. Speaking through an interpreter he said the Bonn agreement had created "injustices in the distribution of the ministries." It's almost the same setup as Mr. Rabbanni's government. Key posts have been given to some people. And many who had a very important role, a significant role in Jihad were not considered for the important posts, he said.

Mr. Gailani did not specify which posts he meant but he made it clear that he did not approve of the fact that so many of the same faces that once held power before the Taleban took control would be again playing important roles. Their previous policies did not lead the country to prosperity and I hope that they would not follow the same policies again. And that the United Nations would observe their moves as they go on, said Gailani.

Both Mr. Gailani and Mr. Dostum's factions were represented at the Bonn talks and both have stressed they are committed to the peace process. But their expressions of disappointment about the Bonn agreement illustrate what a difficult road lies ahead as Afghanistan works toward building a new government.