Afghan Rebels Announce Plan for Kabul Legislature, Confirm Talks With Soviets
Afghan moujahedeen guerrillas Tuesday announced a plan for an assembly to govern Afghanistan and confirmed that they will hold further talks with the Soviet Union.
Rebel leader Zabiullah Mojaddidi told a news conference that the assembly will be selected by the seven parties that make up the Pakistan-based alliance fighting the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.
He said the assembly will convene in two or three weeks to make preparations for the administration of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of occupying Soviet troops, scheduled to be completed next month.
He added that guerrilla commanders will make up half of the assembly and that all parties will have an equal share of appointments.
Mojaddidi, who took over the revolving chairmanship of the alliance recently, confirmed that rebels will hold talks in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad later this week with Soviet First Deputy Foreign Minister Yuli M. Vorontsov, who is ambassador to Kabul.
“The agenda has been set by the moujahedeen and it includes our demands for the immediate and total withdrawal of Soviet troops and advisers and their puppet government,” Mojaddidi said.
Pakistani and rebel sources in Islamabad said Vorontsov will arrive in the Pakistan capital today. Mojaddidi said the meeting will take place within the next few days.
The previous chairman of the alliance, Burhanuddin Rabbani, met Vorontsov in Saudi Arabia Dec. 3 and 4. The alliance called those talks a victory because it was the first direct contact with Moscow in the nine years since the Soviet military intervened in Afghanistan to prop up the regime.
Feb. 15 Deadline
Under accords signed in Geneva last April all Soviet troops are to be out of the country by Feb. 15.
The Soviet Union is trying to work out a smooth transition from the Moscow-backed government of President Najibullah, with some role for his ruling People’s Democratic Party.
Vorontsov, currently in Tehran meeting Muslim guerrillas based there, has also invited former Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah to join talks for forming a broad-based government in Kabul.
But several rebel groups have said that Zahir Shah, exiled in Rome since his overthrow in a 1973 coup, can have no role in Afghanistan’s future.
Meanwhile, six weeks before the promised completion of the Soviet withdrawal, members of the Kabul government have moved dependents to new homes near the Soviet border, Western diplomats said.
The diplomats also said the country’s ruling party is changing its name in an effort to broaden its appeal and remove references to the bloody revolution it rode to power.
The moves coincide with the exodus of Soviet civilian advisers from the Afghan capital and warnings from foreign embassies that their nationals leave the country unless they have essential business, the diplomats said.
Special Aeroflot flights have taken Soviet advisers from the capital, and the Soviet Embassy has been reduced to about 100 workers, the diplomats said.
The ruling party will change its name to the Liberal, Democratic and National Party and adopt “free market policies along the lines of Western Social Democratic parties,” said one Western diplomat, citing Afghan sources.