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Friday, 21 January, 2000, 17:56 GMT
Chechnya to open Kabul embassy

Chechnya will soon have an embassy in the Afghan capital


By Kate Clark in Kabul

The Chechen delegation in Afghanistan says it hopes to open an embassy in the capital, Kabul, in a few days' time.

On Sunday the Taleban became the first government in the world to recognise Chechnya as an independent state.

The press got their first opportunity to meet the Chechen delegation on Friday.

Battle for the Caucasus
One of the state rooms of the Afghan Foreign Ministry, grand if a little faded, had been decorated with flowers and the flags of Chechnya and Taleban-controlled Afghanistan.

The Chechen Vice President, Salim Khan Yanderbayev, said only one nation had listened to his people and understood them and that was Afghanistan.

He said the Chechen Mujahadeen fighters had been heartened by the Taleban's recognition.

After all, the Afghans were famous, he said, for their own successful struggle against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.


Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil: Offering support

The Taleban Foreign Minister, Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil, said they would try to persuade other countries to open diplomatic relations with the Chechens.

He said the Chechen fighters had no need of Afghan military help.

They were numerous, experienced and well-armed.

But he did say that when the Chechens opened their embassy in Kabul they could ask the Taleban for assistance and any request would be considered.

The Taleban are aware of their own limitations.

Embroiled in a long civil war, they have few resources to offer.

Yet they stress no effort will be spared to help the Chechens in their fight for independence.

Earlier, the Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar warned that the current situation in Chechnya could no longer be tolerated.

He called on the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Conference to put pressure on Russia to negotiate.

If Moscow refused, he said, it would have to face the consequences.

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See also:
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
Chechen refugees 'body searched'
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Chechen rebels hold out
30 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Analysis: Testing time for Taleban
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: West quiet over Chechnya
03 Aug 98 |  South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
03 Aug 98 |  Analysis
Afghanistan: 20 years of bloodshed

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