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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 15:58 GMT
Envoy warns no quick Afghan solution
UN envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi with Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar in Pakistan on Monday
Brahimi: Creating a new government is a long process
The United Nations envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, has warned that he can give no timetable for agreement on a future alternative government to the Taleban.

And he said there was no point in holding talks with the Taleban as this "wasn't much interest or benefit for anybody".


I am afraid I can't give a time frame for when our efforts will bear fruit

Lakhdar Brahimi
Reports from Islamabad said that Mr Brahimi was meeting people from inside Afghanistan, a day after he declined to meet the Taleban ambassador to Pakistan.

It is not clear if the Afghans were part of the opposition or from Taleban-held areas, though Mr Brahimi is thought to have met members of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan - a group vehemently opposed to the Taleban's patriarchal society.

Mr Brahimi has said an effective Afghan government should include the Northern Alliance and the Pashtuns, the largest ethnic group from which the Taleban draw most of their support.

Basic plan

Mr Brahimi had earlier said he hoped to submit a basic plan to the UN secretary general soon, but said he was not concerned about the threat of a political vacuum in Kabul, nor did he feel the need for UN peacekeepers in the region.
Exiled King of Afghanistan Zaheer Shah
The exiled king is seen by the US as a key figure

He promised to go "as fast as it is humanly possible".

"The people of Afghanistan have responsibilities, we go just as fast as they can themselves," he said.

The Taleban, for their part, have said they do not want any discussions with the UN envoy.

Spokesman Mohammed Tayeb Agha told the BBC there was no point in talking to Mr Brahimi as he was seeking ways to replace them with an alternative government.

Headache

Attempts to form a workable government in Afghanistan should the Taleban regime be toppled have proved a continuing headache for the West and its allies, as the Taleban has proved a tougher regime to dislodge than the US expected.

Pakistan is pressing for the inclusion of moderate Taleban figures in a new government, a proposal the US is firmly opposed to.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Colin Powell proposed a meeting between Afghan tribal elders and the exiled Afghan King Zaheer Shah, to develop a sufficient form of government while UN peacekeepers kept interim peace.

However the BBC's State Department correspondent, Jon Leyne, says that such US attempts are meeting with continual frustration as Washington cannot find a way to develop a government for Afghanistan without seeming to impose one.

The US hopes that by offering the prize of substantial reconstruction funds to Afghanistan a coalition will be put together more efficiently.

However, prior to recent international attention Afghanistan spent 20 years embroiled in war and civil war, and the various factions, used to fending for themselves, are unaccustomed to working together.

See also:

01 Nov 01 | South Asia
France holds Afghan talks
30 Oct 01 | South Asia
UN and Pakistan map Afghan future
24 Oct 01 | South Asia
Afghans debate political future
18 Oct 01 | South Asia
UN wary of Powell's peacekeeping plans
11 Oct 01 | South Asia
UN's new peacemaker
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