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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 01:26 GMT 02:26 UK
UN calls for new Afghan strategy
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Mr Annan suggests offering warring parties incentives
By Greg Barrow at the UN in New York

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged the Security Council to consider a new strategy aimed at ending the human misery and civil conflict in Afghanistan.

In the latest of a series of reports on Afghanistan since the imposition of UN sanctions last year, Mr Annan says the Security Council might wish to consider setting out a series of objectives through which a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan could be achieved.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said that the Afghan's plight is one of the worst among the world's refugees
Afghan refugees after fleeing to Pakistan
He says these should start with the premise that an end to years of instability in Afghanistan will only be possible once the Afghan people are given the right to decide freely on their government.

The report reflects a growing view among many Security Council members that the current UN sanctions against the Taleban are doing little either to encourage political negotiations or to end the misery of war for Afghan civilians.

Peace incentives

The report suggests that instead of punitive sanctions alone, the Security Council might want to consider a more constructive approach to ending the conflict in Afghanistan.

Osama bin Laden is alleged to have planned the bombing of two American embassies in Africa in 1998
The Taleban has refused to hand over Osama bin Laden
It suggests that the Security Council might consider offering the warring parties incentives to enter into peace negotiations, such as a plan for reconstructing the country once the conflict ends.

The current sanctions regime against Afghanistan was imposed after the Taleban ignored UN calls to hand over the exiled Saudi billionaire, Osama bin Laden.

He is alleged to have planned the bombing of two American embassies in Africa in 1998.

It is designed to punish the Taleban, but it is seen by critics as simply furthering the aims of the United States in its desire to bring the fugitive billionaire to justice.

Mr Annan's report notes that life for millions of Afghans continues to get worse under the sanctions regime, although it reiterates that the greatest cause of human misery is the continuation of the conflict, and the impact of one of the worst droughts in living memory.

See also:

11 Jul 01 | South Asia
UN urges Taleban to help women
29 Jun 01 | South Asia
US 'warns Taleban over bin Laden'
16 Jun 01 | South Asia
Kabul facing bread shortages
14 Jun 01 | South Asia
Taleban 'destroyed captured town'
05 Jun 01 | South Asia
Afghan fighting flares up
28 Jun 00 | South Asia
Annan: Kabul's grim future
03 Aug 98 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
21 Nov 00 | South Asia
Afghanistan's military stalemate
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