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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 14:09 GMT
Pakistan closes Taleban consulates
Visitors to Taleban embassy
The Islamabad embassy remains open
Pakistan has now closed all Taleban missions in the country - except the embassy in Islamabad.

The last consular office of the Afghan militia - located in Quetta in south-west Pakistan - has been closed, according to foreign ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan.

Mr Khan told a news conference that the Taleban ambassador in Islamabad, Abdul Salam Zaeef, had been summoned to the foreign ministry and informed of the government's decision.

On Monday, the Pakistan Government said for the first time that it no longer has any relations with its old allies, the Taleban.

Relations severed

The foreign ministry spokesman said that the Taleban's Quetta consulate had lost its purpose as there was ''still confusion'' in southern Afghanistan where opposition ethnic Pashtun tribes are challenging Taleban rule.

No alternative arrangements are being made by Pakistan.

The United Nations is currently trying to arrange a post-Taleban transitional government for Afghanistan.

Biggest backer

The Pakistan Government used to be the Taleban's strongest supporter.

Taleban ambassador
Ties with the Taleban have not been completely severed
Pakistan was the only country to continue to recognise the Taleban after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates broke off their links.

Even after Pakistan announced its support for the American-led coalition, the Taleban's Islamabad embassy formed an important link between the Afghan regime and the outside world.

Pakistan has said it hoped the United Nations' political process to find a broad-based government for Afghanistan would proceed quickly.

See also:

19 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan's Taleban ties dissolve
14 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan wants UN force in Kabul
13 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan concern at Kabul's fall
07 Nov 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's vested interests
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