Northern Alliance Spokesman to Get Diplomatic Role

As Secretary of State Powell tours the Central Asian region this weekend, a familiar Afghan face here will be made charge d’affairs by the interim government in Kabul.

Haron Amin, who has served as a spokesman for the Afghan Northern Alliance-United Front on U.S. network television since Sept. 11, has been appointed by interim Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai to the diplomatic post, according to Washington officials for the interim government on Friday.

Amin, 32, is a former United Nations diplomat who fought with the Afghan Mujahadeen when they kicked the Soviet Union out of the country in 1989. He will now be responsible for re-instituting normal diplomatic relations and consulate services between Afghanistan and the United States, according to Tom Lauria, a Washington spokesperson for the interim government.

A formal announcement was to be made on Saturday. Amin's counterpart in Afghanistan, American Ryan C. Crocker, was instated as charge d’affairs on Jan. 2.

Amin said his top priorities as the government's representative in the U.S. capital will be "to facilitate humanitarian and relief efforts on behalf of millions of Afghans displaced by two decades of war and act as a conduit for government and private sector interests seeking to participate in the considerable task of rebuilding Afghanistan's decimated economy."

His first challenge, however, will be to renovate the deteriorated embassy in Washington, which has been closed since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996.

A protégé of the late Northern Alliance Commander Ahmad Shah Masood, who was assassinated in Afghanistan just two days before the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Amin's family fled the country in 1980 when the Soviets took over. He returned in 1988 to fight with Masood and since 1990 has served in Washington and the United Nations as the representative of the United Front-Northern Alliance.