ISLAMABAD: The Afghan President Najibullah Thursday stepped down and handed over power to a coalition of Afghan general seven as the UN representative Benon Sevan engaged in hectic efforts in Kabul to work out a peaceful transfer of power reports reaching here said

Afghan Mujahideen groups in Peshawar said the Afghan deputy defence minister Mohammad Nabi Azimi along with three other generals—Babha Khan Asif Dilawar and Abdul Momen had taken over power. Reportssaid44-yr-old Najibullah was prevented from reaching the Kabul airport which was being controlled by dissident militant men and was believed 10 have been taken to the office of Sevan. The areas adjoining the U N office had been surrounded by members of the loyal presidential guards and no one was being allowed there

Reports quoting senior members of the ruling *Watan party in Kabul said Najibullah who had earlier announced his decision to step down to pave the way for installation of an interim government in Afghanistan under the U N peace formula had handed over power to the four generals who had joined hands with Ahmed Shah “Masood a key commander of fundamentalist “Jamaat-E-Islami” which controlled large sections of Northeastern Afghanistan

In another development the chef of the dreaded Afghan secret police “Khad” Ghulam Farook Yaqubi who was also the state security minister shot himself in his office in the Afghan capital the report said

Although there was no formal announcement of Najibullah resignation the Afghan presidents two resignation letters with Sevan reached Kabul from Islamabad Thursday morning 10 avoid deterioration of the situation in Kabul.

Najibullah who was also head of the Afghan secret police had assumed the office of the general secretary of the “Watan” party in May 1986 and rose to become the Afghan president in November 1987.

Even as Sevan was locked in talks in Kabul to set up an interim council to prevent bloodshed and anarchy in the Afghan capital the Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif continued discussions with senior ministers and officials of the foreign ministry and various agencies 10 find a way out for implementation of the U N pan

Reports said Sevan was likely to return to Islamabad Thursday. Afghan observers here felt that the situation in Kabul had worsened as Afghan resistance leaders closed in on the capital

They felt that all efforts should be made to follow the UN sponsored peace plan to take shape as the situation in Afghanistan was to volatile that a civil war could break out.

According to them this was because the Jamiat-E-Islami commander Ahmad Shah Masood and his forces from Northern Afghanistan  which played a key role In the capture of Bagram Airbase about 60 kms north of Kabul was opposed to hardline Mujahideen leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar whose group “Hizbe Islami dominated the southern part of the country. They have had frequent armed clashes.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 1, 1992