Taliban rules out political parties

ISLAMABAD, July 4,1998 (Reuters) - The supreme leader of Taliban Islamic movement Mullah Mohammad Omar was quoted on Friday as ruling out political parties under the Taliban rule.

He said in an interview with the Sharia magazine in Kabul that Afghanistan had suffered internal enmities in the past because of different parties, the Taliban-controlled Voice of Sharia radio said.

"We do not want divisions in the country and, moreover, Islam also forbids divisions and condemns them,'' the broadcast, monitored in Islamabad, quoted Omar as saying.

The Taliban movement, which controls more than two thirds of Afghanistan, is fighting a north-based opposition alliance of several factions.

On Wednesday, Omar ordered the Taliban government's Justice Ministry to set up a committee under the supervision of the Supreme Court to propose amendments in Afghanistan's constitution for a total enforcement of the Islamic Sharia code.

The Taliban has vowed to enforce what it regards as the purist Islamic system in the whole country.

In areas under their control, the Taliban authorities have banned television sets, closed down girls' schools, and ordered women to wear the all-enveloping "burqa'' veil and men to grow long beards.

Taliban restrictions on women and punishments like amputation of hands for theft and stoning to death for adultery have been criticised by Western government and human rights groups.

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