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Exiled Afghan king to send delegations to Pakistan, Iran

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Afghanistan's exiled king will send representatives to Pakistan and Iran to discuss Afghanistan's future political situation, his spokesman, Amid Sidig, said Friday.

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The move comes a day after Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf requested such a meeting through the Italian foreign ministry. The former king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, who was deposed in a 1973 coup, lives in Rome.

Thursday, Zahir met with a U.S. delegation headed by Richard Haass, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Bush administration sources told CNN that Haass outlined a program of future possibilities should the ruling Taliban regime end.

Zahir has forged an alliance with Afghan groups opposed to the Taliban, including the Northern Alliance, an armed force that controls parts of the country. However, the former ruler has said through spokesmen that he does not intend to return to power as monarch; rather, he wants to serve as a unifying force or perhaps head an interim government.

U.S. officials have told CNN that the United States would like to see the former king become a "rallying force" to bring together groups opposed to the Taliban, both inside and outside Afghanistan.



 
 
 
 



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