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On The Scene

Matthew Chance: Deposed Afghan president returns to Kabul



(CNN) -- Burhanuddin Rabbani, the deposed Afghan president and political leader of the Northern Alliance, returned to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Saturday.

CNN Correspondent Matthew Chance is in Kabul. He reports on the effect of Rabbani's return on the creation of a transitional government for Afghanistan.

CHANCE: Let me bring you up to date on the story that the deposed president of Afghanistan, Burhanuddin Rabbani, has, indeed, made a controversial and unexpected return to Kabul. He's been moving very quickly to allay concerns being expressed here that his government is consolidating its power in Afghanistan ahead of any power-sharing political agreement with all the diverse ethnic groups here in Afghanistan.

Speaking to journalists here, he said, and I quote, "I have not come here to extend my government, but I have come for peace and to prepare the ground for peace and invite all Afghans, even outsiders, who are working toward peace."

So, President Rabbani -- the man recognized by the United Nations as the legitimate leader of Afghanistan -- is moving to allay concerns that the Northern Alliance is consolidating its power on Afghanistan ahead of any political agreement to bring all the different factions together.

CNN: And what is the situation in Kabul now? Things have obviously changed as far as leadership, but what is life like on the street?

CHANCE: It's very calm. The Northern Alliance forces have moved in some strength to impose some sort of security here. The troops have been sentry posts set up outside key civil installations and buildings and at road junctions to really impose a sense of security. Of course, there are a lot of concerns amongst the residents of Kabul that the presence of the Northern Alliance back here again may lead to more bitter ethnic infighting of the kind that really ravaged Kabul in the years before the Taliban took over.

Certainly, the fact that Rabbani has returned to Kabul so soon, that won't have eased those concerns very much. And already there are concerns being expressed, tensions being felt by the minority members of the Northern Alliance, that the party of the Northern Alliance (which is led by Burhanuddin Rabbani) -- the Jamiat-e-Islam -- is taking all the key ministries, all the power for itself. Already they have their people in the foreign ministry, the defense ministry, the interior ministry.

The minority groups here, particularly the Hazaras, feel that they're being excluded. That, though, hasn't turned into any kind of violence on the streets as yet.