Alliance snubs NGOs as UN attends Kabul talks


The Northern Alliance, in control of Kabul after the flight of the Taliban, is refusing to let aid workers return to war-torn Afghanistan to prepare relief efforts for the onslaught of winter, the UN said this afternoon.

UN spokesman Mr Eric Falt said special UN envoy Mr Francesc Vendrell, who arrived in the capital yesterday, had already held encouraging talks with Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Mr Abdullah Abdullah and was meeting ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani today to discuss Afghanistan's political future.

But Mr Falt said the Northern Alliance, which swept into Kabul early on Tuesday, had not yet given permission for aid workers from non-governmental organisations (NGO) to fly into Bagram airbase near the capital and resume their operations.

"The UN works very closely with NGO partners but many are reporting that they cannot get to their locations", Mr Falt said.

Relief organisations must make preparations before the onset of harsh winter weather hampers the distribution of food and supplies to millions of Afghans hungry and homeless after 23 years of civil war.