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Ex-king: Afghan opposition groups agree on alliance

Mohammed Zahir Shah has lived in Rome since he was overthrown in a 1973 coup
Mohammed Zahir Shah has lived in Rome since he was overthrown in a 1973 coup  

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Groups opposed to Afghanistan's ruling Taliban have agreed to create an allied political and military structure, according to the nation's former king, who was deposed nearly 30 years ago.

According to a statement issued Friday by the former monarch, Mohammed Zahir Shah, Taliban opponents have created a Supreme Council for the Salvation of Afghanistan. They have also created a "military structure with the participation of various resistance commanders and tribal elders and some professional army officers."

The military structure "will promptly begin its activities inside Afghanistan" and will "lay the foundation for a national security force," said the statement issued from the erstwhile monarch's secretariat in Rome.

The announcement came after the former king met with representatives of the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban faction that controls portions of Afghanistan, primarily in the northeast. He also met earlier in the week with representatives of the U.S. embassy.

The 86-year-old former monarch has lived in Rome since he was overthrown by his nephew in a 1973 coup. A U.N. envoy who met with him last weekend said he has no ambitions to return to power in Afghanistan but believes he could play a role in forming a post-Taliban transitional government


• Ex-Afghan king 'ready to return'
September 24, 2001

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