Afghan peace mission

First Edition

Kabul (Reuter) - Two senior members of Afghanistan's ruling Leadership Council announced yesterday that they would go to Kabul to negotiate an end to the fighting between rebel mujahedin and government forces that has killed thousands.

Hundreds of Kabul residents streamed out of the capital, taking advantage of a lull in rocketing of the city centre while hardline Hizbe Islami fighters confined battles with government troops to the battered southern suburbs. Shops opened briefly in the rubble-strewn ghost town after more than two weeks of blistering exchanges of rocket and artillery fire between the two sides.

The Vice-President, Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi, and Younis Khalis, leader of a Hizbe splinter faction - both of whom sit on the Leadership Council - plan to go to Kabul or its surrounding province today, officials said. 'God willing, there will be a breakthrough,' a spokesman for Mr Mohammadi said on the telephone from the Pakistani border town of Peshawar.

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