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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 15:29 GMT
UN announces Afghan conference
The United Nations and Afghanistan's ethnic groups are to meet in Germany on Monday for their first discussions on building a broad-based government for the country.
Speaking in Kabul, the UN special envoy, Francesc Vendrell, said the meeting would be as representative as it could be made in the short time available - but it was necessary to proceed quickly.
The Northern Alliance, which gained control of northern Afghanistan and Kabul last week, says it will attend.
But the retreating Taleban have not been invited.
Mr Vendrell said they were a regime "in the process of collapse".
"Their leadership is far too identifiable with al-Qaeda for it to be a representative interlocutor," he told the BBC.
He added that Berlin would probably be the venue for the summit, but it was not yet clear.
Meanwhile, officials from about a dozen countries are to hold discussions in Washington on Afghanistan's post-war reconstruction.
The United States and Japan will host the talks, which will begin the process of assessing Afghanistan's most pressing post-war needs, such as agriculture, water, education and mine clearance.
Correspondents say the talks are not directly linked to the negotiations over Afghanistan's political future but they are designed to show the commitment of the United States and its partners to Afghanistan's long-term future.
European Union foreign ministers have already promised to give reconstruction aid to Afghanistan, but only if the country's new government respects human rights and international law.
In other developments:
The confirmation of the Afghan conference came on Francesc Vendrell's fourth day of talks in the Afghan capital with key figures in the Northern Alliance and other tribal and faction leaders.