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Sources: Where to meet to create new government at issue

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Supporters of deposed Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah and Northern Alliance officials appear to be at odds over where to hold meetings on the creation of a post-Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Sources told CNN on Friday that the opposition Northern Alliance -- which now controls large swaths of Afghanistan -- will meet only in Kabul to discuss the creation of a new post-Taliban government, refusing any other location to sit down with parties involved in the development of a new government.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.'s envoy on Afghanistan, is trying to convene a supreme council meeting to begin the creation of a new Afghan government. Previous discussions about a meeting suggested that it be held in another country. Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have been mentioned.

On Thursday, exiled Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani and other leaders of the Northern Alliance have not yet said they will attend a meeting outside Afghanistan. They have called a meeting in Kabul, which they captured from the Taliban on Tuesday.

Other Afghan factions, including supporters of the ex-king, don't want to meet in the Afghan capital now until international forces are in charge of security there, sources said.

Also, the deposed king and his supporters believe it could appear prejudicial toward the Northern Alliance to have a meeting in its territory. The king's supporters want to be able to strike a balance between the Northern Alliance, made up largely of Uzbeks, Hazaras and Tajiks, and ethnic Pashtun tribal leaders.

Pashtuns are the largest ethnic minority in Afghanistan, although they do not command a majority.

Within the international community, there is concern that without a broad-based government, Afghanistan could be hostile to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Officials say they are counting on the Northern Alliance to keep its promise to share power in a post-Taliban government.

Brahimi's proposal

Brahimi's plan for creating a post-Taliban Afghan government calls for holding the supreme council meeting, followed by the convening of a provisional Afghan council, drawing from all of the ethnic and tribal factions and including Afghans in the country and abroad.

The council would be led by an individual who is seen by the people of Afghanistan as a symbol of national unity and a person around whom all ethnic, religious and regional groups could rally.

Brahimi's plan then calls for the provisional council to devise a transitional administration and action plan, to be approved by an emergency "Loya Jirga," a gathering of thousands that Afghans traditionally use to choose a government.

However, Brahimi has said a transitional administration should last no more than two years, and its main task should be security in the country. A political solution will not be possible without "genuine and lasting security," he said.

-- CNN's Jim Bittermann contributed to this report



 
 
 
 



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