AHMAD SHAH MAS’UD WARN PAKISTAN AGAINST THE AFGHANS WRATH

By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor

PARIS 4 Apr. (IPS) Veteran Afghan warrior Commandant Ahmad Shah Mas’ud bluntly warned Wednesday Pakistan to get out of Afghanistan or face the same humiliation the Afghan people dealt to the British and Russian occupiers.

Speaking to a pack press conference in Paris, Mr. Mas’ud, who is in France on his first ever visit to the West, said he could check and defeat the Taleban if it were not for the "full military, logistic, financial and physical" assistance the hard-line Islamist militants receive from Pakistan.

"We ended the British colonialism and defeated the Red Army. Pakistan is not stronger. Sooner than latter, they too, will suffer the same humiliation", he assured, calling on both Europe and the United States help restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan by putting pressure on Islamabad to evacuate Afghanistan.

The Afghan leader met with Mr. Hubert Vedrine, the French socialist Foreign Minister and presidents of the National assembly and the Senate, to whom he briefed about the situation in his war-torn nation and called on them to take a bolder role in Afghanistan, particularly in stopping Pakistan’s deadly interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

According to the charismatic warrior, by destructing the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan he described as "Afghan’s most valuable cultural heritage", the Taleban tore off the mask from their ugly face. "Now that the people have seen the real visage of the Taleban, they would fight them to the end", Mr. Mas’ud told French and international journalists.

He said, without explaining though, that he expect the dominantly Pashtun population of the Kunar Province near Pakistani border up rise against the Taleban, adding that once this happens, it would be followed by similar movements in Kabul, Qandahar, where resides Taleban’s supreme leader Mollah Mohammad Omar, as well as in other major cities,.

Though the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan controls more than 90 per cent of the Afghan territory, yet it is not recognised but by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf.

Asked by Iran Press Service why he all the time accuses Pakistan but has no word about Saudi Arabia, another main supporter of the Taleban that is reported to be behind a scheme for the destruction of all Shi’a mosques and monuments, Mr. Mas’ud again lambasted the Pakistani whom, he explained, were "associating" the Saudis in their strategy for Afghanistan.

Pakistan is the only country that has a clear-cut strategy for Afghanistan, that is to transform it into its backyard, Afghan sources said.

Heading a seven-member delegation that includes some commanders as well as the Foreign Minister of the Borhaneddin Rabbani government that was ousted from power by the Taleban in September 1996, Mr. Mas’ud is due to address the European Parliament Thursday in the French city of Strasbourg, near the German border.

The invitation to the "vice-President and defence Minister" of the Islamic Government of Afghanistan to address Europe-deputies came from Mrs. Nicole Fontaine, the French Speaker of the European Parliament him after the Taleban destroyed Buddha’s statues, arousing dismay and anger among the international opinion.

Mas’ud, a former second degree student at the French College of Kabul, described as "positive" the sanctions imposed by the United Nations on the Taleban, but regretted that because of "general negligence", the Pakistanis were able to bypass and ignore it "in full violation of the UN recommendations".

He dismissed as "Pakistan’s propaganda" reported rifts and dissensions among commanders and members of the Northern Coalition, observing that the anti-Taleban opposition was formed from personalities belonging to different ethnics and branches of Islam dedicated to put an end to the dark ages imposed by the Taleban.

Asked if it was not against his interests to get arms from Russia, a country that himself fought against for more than a decade, Mr. Mas’ud said immediately that he considers as his "most natural right" to get help from any source in order to "liberate my occupied nation and free my people".

He said the future regime of Afghanistan must be decided by the Afghan people in free and fair elections with the participation of all Afghans, including women, observing that "only democracy" can preserve and guarantee social justice, peace and equality for all Afghans, regardless of their ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds.

Rejecting all forms of terrorism under any name and ideology, Mr. Mas’ud said Mr. Osama Ben Laden, the Saudi anti-American, anti-Western millionaire crusader the American accuses of terrorist activities, is in "symbiosis" with the Taleban ideology.

According to some information, Mr. Ben Laden has formed an army of his own in Afghanistan and enjoys paramount influence over afghan senior clerics around Mr. Omar.

Mr. Ben Laden is sought by the American Justice for the twin bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He regretted that the new US Administration had not a clear policy for Afghanistan and warned that in case Washington and other peace loving nations do nothing for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, "they will bear the consequences".

Mr. Mas’ud says former Afghan King Mohammad Zaher Shah can play a positive role in restoring peace in Afghanistan and lauded efforts the Rome-based Monarch is deploying to this end by trying to convene a Loya Jirga, or the traditional Elders Grand Assembly. ENDS MASUD PARIS 4401