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Tuesday, August 11, 1998 Published at 23:55 GMT 00:55 UK

Hekmatyar: 'neither captured nor wounded'

Golbuddin Hekmatyar: Reports of his death meant to demorailse forces

Former Afghan Prime Minister and opposition leader Golbuddin Hekmatyar has denied reports that he has been taken prisoner or killed by Taleban forces.

"I have been neither captured nor wounded. I am healthy," he told Iranian television on Tuesday.

Mr Hekmatyar confirms the date: "It is now 1340 [0840 gmt], 1340 Afghan time. Today is 20th Asad [11th August]."
The television showed a telephone interview with Mr Hekmatyar, who also said that he had been in touch with ousted president Borhanuddin Rabbani.

Mr Rabbani's base of Taloqan was captured by the Taleban just hours earlier.

Mr Hekmatyar said that reports on his capture or death were meant to demoralise his forces, opposing the advance of the Taleban.

He was asked to confirm the date and time of the interview to dispel any doubt about his well-being.

Mr Hekmatyar also confirmed that he was still in Afghanistan and had no intentions to leave.

"If there is even limited opposition to the Taleban's move in the north... then there will be a strong possibility that the Taleban's bitter and bloody experience of the past... will be repeated," he told the reporter.

[ image: Ousted president Borhanuddin Rabbani.
Ousted president Borhanuddin Rabbani. "He is fine."
"No-one can occupy Afghanistan and rule over Afghans through the use of force," Mr Hekmatyar said.

Asked about former president, Borhanuddin Rabbani, Mr Hekmatyar said:

"We had a meeting earlier on. I can assure you that he is fine."

Iran still recognises the administration of ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani, which also holds the Afghan seat at the United Nations.

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