Northern Alliance baulk at UN power-sharing plan

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Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani today complained that a delegation representing his Northern Alliance had been pressured at UN talks in Germany to agree to name members of interim bodies and accept an international security force.

Mr Rabbani, speaking at the presidential palace in Kabul said the members of the interim council should be decided not in Bonn, but by the Afghan people.

"We could go through this process and have (an interim) council in one or two months," said Mr Rabbani, who is recognized by the United Nations as Afghanistan's head of state.

He also raised objections to any international peacekeeping force, saying he would prefer an all–Afghan force some 1,000–strong. Any foreign contribution should be limited to 200, Rabbani said.

New obstacles also emerged at the bargaining table near Bonn amid signs that northern alliance envoys want more time to consult with leaders in Afghanistan on their list of representatives in an interim administration.

Northern alliance chief envoy Younus Qanooni "told us today that he is not in a position to agree to any names," said Anwar Ahadi, a member of a Pakistan–based faction at the talks.

"He said even if we agree to a list here and sign something, what value will it have if it is not accepted by our leaders in Kabul?" he said. "We understand it's not a matter of one or two more days. They seem to be asking for a lot more time."

Responding to Mr Rabbani's tough stance, the United Nations insisted it expects leaders in Kabul to respect any agreement.

"We have Mr. Rabbani's word that he will respect whatever comes out of the Bonn talks," UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said. "And once the Bonn agreement is concluded we have been assured by the head of the delegation here, Mr. Qanooni, that he will take it home to Kabul and implement it.

"We can only take their word for it," he said.

Mr Rabbani's comments