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Afghan Leaders Agree To Interim Constitution

September 27, 1993

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Afghan guerrilla leaders approved an interim constitution on Monday to carry the war-ravaged country through elections next year, state-controlled radio said.

The Radio Kabul broadcast said the interim constitution was approved following five days of bickering.

The most contentious issue had been whether Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Muslims would receive constitutional protection. It wasn’t clear in the broadcast whether the Shiites received the guarantees they sought.

Afghanistan is mostly a Sunni Muslim country and the rival Islamic sects have waged fierce battles. Last week in Kabul, at least 17 people were killed and dozens more injured, according to news reports.

Since Muslim guerrillas ousted the Communists from Kabul last year, they have fought successive battles for power. The fighting has decimated entire sections of the capital and killed at least 10,000 people.

It was unclear when elections would be held in Afghanistan, but most Western observers say it is unlikely they could be held before March.

Several guerrilla leaders have asked the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference to send representatives to monitor the voting.

The United Nations has tentatively agreed, but said security is a major concern. The U.N. evacuated its foreign staff from Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar, citing security reasons.

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