Pakistan, Afghan rebels hold talks

Sunday, October 21, 2001

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan confirmed Saturday that it was holding talks with a senior Taliban commander on the makeup of a future Afghan government -- a move that drew a sharp retort from the opposition alliance that is fighting the Islamic militia in the north.

Pakistan is trying to court Taliban figures who might be acceptable candidates in a new government if the ruling militia collapses under the relentless U.S. military assault.

It wants to ensure that the next government includes members favorable to Pakistan, which had been the Taliban's closest ally until the Sept. 11 attacks.

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