Opposition rallies about exiled king

Monday, October 1, 2001

ROME -- U.S. lawmakers and Afghanistan's opposition forces rallied around the country's former monarch Sunday and vowed to work together to fight their new common enemies: terrorism, Osama bin Laden and the "tyranny" of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

The unusual encounter occurred in the home of exiled King Mohammad Zahir Shah, who has been trying to unify opponents of the Taliban and help bring a democratic government to the war-ravaged country he left nearly 30 years ago.

The U.S. congressional delegation met under tight security with the former king, members of the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban field commanders to offer American support in the campaign to oust Afghanistan's hard-line Islamic regime.

"We let them know we are behind them," said Rep. Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican.

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