Afghans sign peace plan

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The Independent Online
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Afghanistan's feuding mujahedin leaders signed a peace accord here yesterday to end a 12-month-old conflict that has battered Kabul and left thousands of people dead.

Under the accord, President Burhanuddin Rabbani will continue in office for 18 months with the hardline Hizbe Islami chief, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, as the Prime Minister, Afghan and Pakistani sources said. But the most divisive issue, the allocation of the post of defence minister, was postponed. One Western diplomat said the failure of the leaders to agree on the crucial Defence Ministry appointment would jeopardise the future of the accord.

The sources said Mr Hekmatyar would form a cabinet in two weeks in consultation with Mr Rabbani and heads of various factions.