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Factions agree on Afghan government

KOENIGSWINTER, Germany (CNN) -- Delegates of four Afghan opposition groups reached an agreement here late Monday on the political structure of a post-Taliban interim government for the war-torn country.

The agreement also calls for the immediate assembly of a temporary group of multinational peacekeepers in Kabul and possibly other areas. Security and the decommissioning of current Afghan military units have been contentious issues among the delegates.

The four factions approved a plan for a 29-member ruling council composed of a chairman, five deputy chairmen and 23 other members.

The council would govern Afghanistan for six months, at which time a traditional Afghan assembly, called a loya jirga, would be convened to decided on a more permanent structure.

The agreement calls for elections within two years.

The four delegations -- the Northern Alliance, the Rome delegation representing the former Afghan king, the "Peshawar Group," representing the millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and the "Cyprus Group," representing an Iranian-backed group of Afghan exiles -- have been meeting at the Petersberg Hotel outside Bonn under the auspices of the United Nations.

Four Afghan factions have agreed to a power-sharing plan, but hammering out the details could prove difficult. CNN's Jim Bittermann reports (December 3)

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Trying to balance the myriad ethnic factions in Afghanistan, negotiators next plan to take up the task of deciding who would get which post in the new government. Those talks are scheduled to begin at noon Tuesday.

The talks threatened to bog down Monday because the Northern Alliance -- the only one of the four factions with a military force that controls Afghan territory -- had not submitted candidates for council positions. But the alliance finally came through with a list.

The chairmanship of the interim council is expected to go to the Rome faction representing Zahir Shah, the former king. There have been several names mentioned, and a source told CNN the Rome delegates held a mini-election for the post.

The favorite candidate apparently is Abdul Sattar Sirat, head of the delegation and a former justice minister.

Any candidate has to be considered and approved by the summit's plenary session.

The Northern Alliance's list of names was presented in a statement Monday in Kabul from Burhanuddin Rabbani, deposed Afghan president.

The statement said the alliance's four candidates for the top position are: Sattar Sirat (Tajik), Hamid Karzai (Pashtun), Al Haj Sabghtullah Mujhadidi (Pashtun) and Said Ahmed Gellani (Pashtun).

The statement called for other members of the interim council and the details of the proposed agendas in the U.N. agreement to be decided in the presence of Rabbani's Supreme Council in Kabul.

A large majority of the positions could be shared by the Northern Alliance and the Rome groups, both Rome and Northern Alliance sources said.

A supreme court and other governmental entities would be created under the accord, along with a commission to draft a new constitution.

Parts of Afghanistan's 1963 constitution in place during the monarchy were used to create the draft proposal, a source said, although no formal role for the king is envisioned in a new government.

The proposal contained no provisions for amnesty for human rights violations.

-- Berlin Bureau Chief Bettina Luescher and Correspondent Jim Bittermann contributed to this report.


• United Nations

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