Head of Afghan opposition quits to lead parliament

WORLD DIGEST

December 23, 2005|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The new chairman of Afghanistan's parliament, Yunus Qanooni, said yesterday he would resign as leader of the opposition and support the government of Afghanistan in the interests of the people.

His comments, at a news conference in the parliament building, were seen as a peace offering to President Hamid Karzai, whom he has opposed since leaving the government in 2004 to run against him in the presidential race.

"I cannot at the same time be chairman of the House of People and opposition of the government," he said as representatives were voting for the two deputy chairmen of the parliament. "Many times in the past I have mentioned that if the elected representatives of the people trusted me to serve as the head of parliament, I would resign from the leadership of the opposition party of Afghanistan. And now I am standing on my promise," he said.

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