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Rabbani: Power will be shared

Burhanuddin Rabbani
Rabbani said he is prepared to have a broadbased alliance  

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Burhanuddin Rabbani, president of the Northern Alliance-led government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, said Tuesday the forces that rolled into the Afghan capital last week are planning to share -- not seize -- power.

Moreoever, he said if there is a decision to choose a different leader, he would be prepared to step down from power.

Saying that the citizenry is tired of war, Rabbani believes that now it's time to end the warfare and to start the process of rebuilding "this ruined country."

"We don't want to hear the sound of artillery anymore. People should hear the sound of workers with shovels rebuilding their country."

Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he has agreed to a meeting of ethnic Afghan groups (November 20)

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In an interview with CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, Rabbani said he is prepared to have a broadbased alliance in power, as envisioned by the United Nations.

"Yes, I've already assured and I will assure you again that we came to Kabul to bring peace and to ensure security and to pave the way to invite Afghan groups to come here and start the peace process."

Rabbani said he accepts the U.N. plan and has some suggestions to add to it. He said he is prepared to hold a first gathering in a foreign country, in Europe.

But he called such a gathering "mostly symbolic." There are reports that a meeting of Afghans to discuss the political transition in the country is being planned for Germany on Saturday.

"I believe that our country must have peace. For this, the decision-making process for peace should be held in Afghanistan," Rabbani said.

"Of course, it it's not possible for some Afghans to come into Afghanistan, we can find another solution. Our first consultations can be somewhere else. But I insist that we must take all the decisions on finalizing the peace process inside Afghanistan."

When he was asked how much the people of Afghanistan and Kabul don't want the old leaders back in charge again, Rabbani "some who think like that have a very bitter experience from war.

"But I believe that they understand that today, the Northern Alliance has defeated the terrible Taliban. Anyway, the decision of the people has always been respected by us and still is."

Rabbani was not against individual Taliban members who have not committed crimes being part of a broadbased government, but he opposed the Taliban's participation in the government as a group.

When asked if he was pleased about America's actions in Afghanistan during the past two months, he said: "We agree with the international struggle against terrorism.

"Of course, we always said that when they attack the terrorist bases, the people of Afghanistan must not be attacked and I think that the war is almost over.

"From now on, what we ask from America and the international community is that instead of sending in their military, the world should send in their peace forces -- their forces for reconstruction to rebuild this ruined country."


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