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U.N. Urges End to Afghan Fighting

September 26, 1996| From Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Security Council members called Wednesday for an immediate end to the fighting in Afghanistan and for peace talks as the government denied that the capital was about to fall to the Taliban militia.

The appeal was announced after a meeting of the 15-nation Security Council in New York, following a string of military successes by the radical Islamic Taliban that has brought the conflict to the gates of Kabul.

"The members of the council call upon the parties to stop fighting immediately, to agree to a cease-fire and to enter into serious negotiations to find a political solution to this conflict," the current council president, Alfredo Lopes Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, told reporters.

The council, which has made similar appeals before without success, was particularly concerned by the humanitarian crisis and the risk of civilian casualties in any fighting for control of Kabul.

The Afghan government asked the Security Council to meet on the crisis and accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban.

Earlier, a top U.N. official had said government resistance to the militants' onslaught seemed to be crumbling.

But Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdur Rahim Ghafourzai told reporters in New York that the government had inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers and now wanted a cease-fire.

Government forces killed 150 fighters from the militant Islamic group, wounded 500 more and destroyed 18 tanks and 12 other vehicles in the Kabul fighting, he said.

The Taliban controls more than half the central Asian nation, which has been the scene of continual fighting between various Muslim and ethnic groups since Soviet troops supporting a Communist government withdrew in 1989.

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