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Afghan opposition calls for refugees' protection
ISLAMABAD (NNI): The Afghan opposition has asked international community to ensure protection to the refugees returning to Afghanistan from the neighbouring countries.
Spokesman of anti-Taliban alliance Ustad Muhaqqiq accused Taliban of carrying out ethnic cleansing and expelling Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other ethnic minorities from the country.
Mohaqqiq told BBC that whenever some people return from Iran or Pakistan, Taliban accuse them and kill them.
He Mohaqqiq asked the international community to take steps for protection of refugees. He also asked Iran not to force Afghans to return because Taliban were killing them.
He accused Taliban of carrying out killings and burning houses. He said that over thirty thousand people left the city of Bamyan when Taliban captured it on May 9 but Taliban killed the remaining people. He said Taliban also captured over one thousand families in Bamyan and other areas.
2 Taliban commanders defected to opposition
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Two prominent Taliban commanders along with their 150 men defected to the Afghan opposition alliance in Samangan province on Saturday, an opposition spokesman said.
Spokesman for Harakat-e-Islami Said Najib Tahmas in a statement, sent to NNI from Afghanistan's Kunduz province, said that Taliban commanders Messrs Almoss and Khadem defected to the alliance in district Maqsood in Samangan province.
"Messrs Almoss and Khadem are well known local identities. Their defections are expected to strengthen Alliance efforts in the province," Tehmas said.
He said the attacking army of the Taliban was dealt a major blow in Abe Kalan and Arre Pol today when their forces retreated after suffering heavy losses.
Iran rejects Taliban charge it mounted incursion into Afghanistan
Sun 23 May 99 - 13:56 GMT
TEHRAN, May 23 (AFP) - Iran on Sunday rejected accusations by the Taliban militia that it mounted a military incursion into western Afghanistan two weeks ago.
"Creating baseless and false accusations only serves to mislead public opinion while justifying the continuing crisis in Afghanistan," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told the official news agency IRNA.
Such measures do "not help the current crisis in Afghanistan" but only added to the "clashes and bloodshed in the region," Asefi said.
Last week the Taliban, which controls more than 80 percent of Afghanistan, lashed out against Tehran for allegedly intervening in western provinces bordering Iran.
"Iranian troops intruded into Farah and Herat provinces on Thursday and carried out military operations against innocent Afghan civilians," said a protest note handed to Iranian diplomats in Islamabad.
Relations between the Sunni Moslem Taliban and Shiite Iran have remained strained since the murder of nine Iranian diplomats during the militia's capture of the northern opposition stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif last August.
Like most of the rest of the international community, Iran recognizes the government of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, ousted by the Taliban from Kabul in 1996.
Iran Rejects Taliban Accusation
TEHRAN (May 23) XINHUA - Iran on Sunday rejected an accusation by the Afghan Taliban militia that it was involved in a recent rebellion in Herat city, western Afghanistan.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said such a groundless accusation is designed to divert the public opinion and justify the continued crisis in Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The Taliban authorities on Saturday accused Iran of organizing the ethnic Hazaras in Herat to fight against the Taliban and urged Tehran to stop intervention in Afghan affairs.
"Members of the group were not Hazaras alone, there were other people among them too, organized by Iran," a Taliban spokesman said after the militia suppressed the rebellion.
However, the Iranian spokesman said Iran has been urging the warring factions in Afghanistan to hold talks in order to settle their dispute and set up a broad-based government consisting of all ethnic and religious groups.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has expressed its readiness to help find a solution to the Afghan crisis and preserve the independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, Asefi said.
The spokesman expressed regret over the continuation of conflicts, war and bloodshed in Afghanistan.
Last week, the Taliban lodged a protest to Iran for launching a military incursion into Afghanistan's western provinces. But Iran denied the accusation.
However, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps later announced that its forces smashed two Afghan groups and killed 30 members in recent armed clashes in the Torbat-e Jam region, the northeastern province of Khorasan, which borders Afghanistan.
Zahir Shah held responsible for Afghans' miseries
Frontier Post Report
PESHAWAR - Criticising former Afghan monarch Zahir Shah for his policies during his 40 years reign, an Afghan writer, Muhammad Ameen Basharat, has claimed that the oppressed Afghan nation still remembers the dark days of Zahir Shah. In a press statement issued here on Saturday, he said that if Zahir had worked for the betterment of his country then Afghanistan would be one of the developed country of the world today. Ameen said that Afghanistan was enriched with minerals and natural resources but the rulers did nothing to explore it. He regretted that although Afghan people were very talented but their talent could not be properly tapped. He said that Zahir instead of developing the country were indulged in acts meant for his personal pleasure at the cost of pushing the entire nation towards backwardness. Ameen added that Zahir looted public property and arranged spacious accommodations for himself and his relatives. He said that during his rule not only the country was made economically backward rather he also encouraged communist elements in the country by officially permitting their publications and cultural activities. He held Zahir responsible for the twenty year long Afghan conflict which had resulted in killing of millions of Muslims and complete destruction of Afghanistan. He regretted that Zahir had himself left the country along with his friends.
Pakistan, Afghanistan sign agreement for road construction
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Pakistan and Afghan government has signed an agreement in Islamabad for the construction of road between the eastern town of Jalalabad and capital Kabul, officials said on Saturday.
The 10 kilometers stretch of Road from Jalalabad to Kabul will be rehabilitation to its original design during current financial, a Foreign Office statement said.
The statement does not mention the cost of the project and time of the construction and completion of the project.
NNI learnt from its sources that the construction would cost Rs. 30 million. More funds will also be allocated in the next financial year.
Construction will begin on June 1 and will compete within 6 months. In the first phase road between Daranto to Sarkando would be rehabilitated on the main Jalalabad-Kabul highway.
Moulvi Saadduin Saeid, Deputy Minister of Public Works of Afghanistan signed the agreement with Pakistani officials at the Foreign Office.
Public Works Ministry of Afghanistan will manage this project under technical supervision of National Highway Authority of Pakistan.
"As per desire of the Prime Minister, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan is actively taking part in rehabilitation and development of Afghanistan," the statement said.
Taliban Said to Kill Shiites
Saturday, May 22, 1999; 4:56 p.m. EDT
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Afghanistan's opposition alliance sought the help of the United Nations on Saturday to end what it alleged were unprovoked attacks by the Taliban religious army on minority Shiite Muslims, known as Hazaras.
The opposition alliance, which comprises religious and ethnic minorities including Shiite Muslim Hazaras, said 28 people were hanged Thursday and Friday in Herat, 370 miles west of the capital, Kabul. It also said the Taliban arrested 200 Hazaras and set fire to more than 300 homes in Herat.
``We have urged the United Nations to take notice of the Taliban's atrocities against the minorities,'' opposition spokesman Hussain Anwari said.
The Taliban rule 90 percent of Afghanistan, and are fighting their northern-based opponents on several fronts in a bid to extend control over the rest of the country. The Taliban, which have imposed a strict version of Islamic law, are Sunni Muslims and mostly ethnic Pashtun, the majority in Afghanistan.
The opposition, which controls the remaining 10 percent of Afghanistan, regularly accuses the Taliban of attacking minority groups.
The Taliban's Information Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said Taliban soldiers killed eight people who were planning to stage a revolt in Herat.
Also, ``a number of people were hanged later as a lesson to the conspirators,'' he said, without giving any details.
On Friday, the Taliban-controlled radio Shariat said 150 weapons were seized from residents of a village nearby Herat. The radio said they had been planning a revolt.
Protest rally against Mohmand Agency operation
Frontier Post Report
PESHAWAR - Against the ongoing operation at Mohmand agency a peaceful protest procession will be taken out by different political and social organisations on Monday at 9. 30 a. m from Peshawar Press Club up to Qissa Khwani Bazzar. The procession will be attended by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakhtunkhwa Qaumi Party, Qabaili Jirga, Khyber Union of Bara, Tehrik-i-Ittehad Qabail, inhabitants of Mohmand agency in Peshawar, and other organisations of lawyers, intellectuals and human rights activists. The demonstration is aimed at urging upon the government to forthwith stop its brutal operation in Mohmand agency.
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