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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 21:05 GMT
Can the Afghan government succeed?
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After nine days of almost non-stop negotiations in Bonn, four Afghan factions have finally signed an agreement on a transitional government to run the country after 20 years of war.
The power-sharing council is to be headed by Pashtun tribal commander Hamid Karzai and includes representatives of the Northern Alliance, women and exiles loyal to the former king.
But with the new government in place, the challenge will be to make it work. Afghanistan has no police force, no infrastructure and there are continuing threats from fighting warlords.
Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, one of the most powerful commanders in the dominant Northern Alliance, has already said he intends to boycott Afghanistan's new interim government.
BBC correspondents in Kabul say initial reaction amongst people there is one of real delight and relief that the talks have reached a successful conclusion.
Do you think the power-sharing agreement can succeed? Can all Afghan factions now be equally represented? Do you welcome the inclusion of women in the new government?
Lyse Doucet took your comments in a special Talking Point programme broadcast LIVE from Kabul
This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.
The New Afghan Government will never be allowed to flourish to full democracy. It will be soon overtaken by Corporate Interference, in exactly the same way as our own parliamentary system is being taken over.
Afghanistan needs to be left alone. Where in the world has there been true progress when the UN, US and their allies have stepped in?
The people of Afghanistan want peace and quiet. They just want to get along with their lives.
The groups and tribes trying to gain power will make that difficult. I won't be surprised if in a few years another war happens over there again.
They'll do fine for a while - until the international community tires of this particular pawn and abandons them again. Then we all go back to square one until the next September 11th.
If they uphold secularism, pluralism, women's and minorities' rights as well as democratic ideals with separation of religion from state, Afghanistan can become a paradise state. But the question is, will their neighbours let them do so?
Aidan, Wellington, New Zealand
The new government will succeed because it is democratic and will give freedom to men and women equally.
First of all I congratulate Mr Hamid Karzai as leader of the interim government, and hope that he will bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. We are Afghans living in Norway and we support Mr Karzai now and in the future.
I don't think that it will work. Changes in this area are necessary but major changes are usually not accepted by the society as a whole because the people are afraid for the future.
This interim government will never work out because Pashtuns are not well represented. Without proper Pashtun representation, no government will be able to run the country effectively.
Farzad, Tehran, Iran
This new government will succeed because the people of Afghanistan want it to succeed. Make no mistake, the Taleban are gone for good and there will be no return to violence for those people who have been linked to Taleban. Hamid Karazi and Dr Abdullah and others who are in this government are not puppets of the west but in fact they are patriots who fought the evil Taleban for years. My message as an Afghan to other so-called Muslim brothers and sisters who would rather see our people under the Taleban regime is simple - mind your own business and let us rebuild our shattered country. We don't need your help or your criticism. May God help and protect Afghanistan.
This agreement is for the newborn Afghanistan. Now if the Northern Alliance put down their weapons, I guarantee that we will be able to live in peace.
This interim government will be successful for sure, because it is well balanced. There is only one danger. Every time Pakistan has been involved in Afghan affairs, it has had a negative effect on the Afghan people. Pakistan should now learn to mind its own business. My best wishes and prayers for the innocent Afghan people.
If the government lasts for longer than four weeks after its de facto installation, I shall purchase a hat and eat it.
I think this is a starting point towards peace in Afghanistan. Let's not forget that this is an interim government. We cannot expect a perfect government by end of this month.
The interim government will only succeed when all the Afghan politicians and warlords put the interests of the country ahead of their own interests. The Afghan people appear to be highly supportive of the interim government. The only problem now will be the warlords. If this is solved then everything will clear up and the interim administration will lead Afghanistan for first time in more than 20 years into a new era of peace and hope.
For a country which has been so thoroughly traumatised by over 20 years of non-stop war, the leaders of Afghanistan and all players involved, need to focus on peace for the sake of the children and subsume their personal and ethnic ambitions.
Like many people in the Muslim world I honestly believe Americans went into Afghanistan not to help build a peaceful nation but to avenge the events of 11 September, and as soon as they achieve their aim they will disappear. The only hope for Afghanistan is for other peace-loving countries including members of the EU to stay and help them build a peaceful nation with a well represented government.
I am very optimistic about the Bonn agreement but there is an urgent need for a peacekeeping force and United Nations administrative support mission, which supports the new interim administration financially and technically and prepares the ground for election. A United Nations mission does not just bring in a huge amount of money but also lots of international citizens from different cultures with different mentalities. It could definitely change the current Afghan culture, which is the culture of the gun, to a culture of democracy, development and freedom.
Narinder Dogra, Morgan Hill, California, USA
I am very pleased that the Taleban regime is over. I was however highly traumatised by the sight of Northern Alliance soldiers beating up captured members of the Taleban. What assurances can they give us that human rights and civil liberties will be fully respected under the new administration?
This is not the perfect solution but I think it is the first step in the right direction for the past 23 years. I hope they are going to re-establish some form of functioning government in Kabul and pave the way for free elections so all Afghans will have a voice in electing their own representatives and leaders.
I believe the real government and the real leaders who deserve to run Afghanistan are not included in this new western-constructed puppet government. The Afghan people deserve the right to be able to elect their own leaders.
The US coalition has tried to do for the Afghan people what they themselves have been too weak and disorganized to do - to get foreign malcontents out of power and to put Afghans back in power who actually care about the future of Afghanistan and its people rather than just themselves.
That is not an easy thing to attempt.
Let's all pray it works.
Carl Warner, Alabama, USA
Here they are again, the doom-mongers and the nay-sayers who think anything that can't be resolved by next Wednesday will never be resolved. Afghanistan has taken the first crucial step towards peace and stability. There will be many more steps. It may take another thirty years before these things are fully achieved. There may be some backsliding. But the process has begun and, for now, that is what matters most.
As much as we all would like this agreement to work, we do have to look at the reality of it. Afghanistan is made up of different factions who all would want a equal say and power.
Can you see all the different parties in the UK sharing power?
The puppet government will never last. Afghanistan has to be ruled from within and not by western-appointed powerless figureheads.
The landmark agreement at Bonn will hopefully prove to be a harbinger of the peace and security that has deserted Afghans for over two decades. Mr Karzai is humane, principled intellectual with a unifying capacity, enjoying the respect of the majority of Afghan public. Let's hope that the men and women around him play a supportive role they owe each other and the Afghan people. The notion of disarmament is akin to world peace - great idea but some would argue unrealistic. However with western money pouring in, a genuine and promising attempt could be made at this, the crux of the new council's attention as far as security is concerned.
A new interim government - so far so good. But Afghanistan is one of the world's most divided countries, and I don't see any agreement on who will control the different territories. If you don't do that you can welcome a new government and a new round of fighting.
Samantha Lyle, Warwick, UK
This interim executive council will not be able to function, at least in the long run. Afghanistan is a tribal-based society headed by warlords. Any attempt to simplify the issues surrounding the country's socio-economic and political complexity will result in the total collapse of a council that has been built virtually overnight. When will western politicians learn that in order to eliminate problems that they have created, they must first ensure that they decommission all weapons in Afghanistan, apart from the military personnel. Disarmament is an inevitable component if there is to be any kind of stability in the country. It is an absolute prerequisite for the ratified peace deal to work.
I sincerely hope that there is a general election as soon as possible to ensure that the Afghan people's choice of government ends up in power, rather than a puppet government prodded into power by the all-powerful western nations.
Congratulations to all factions involved. I'm very optimistic about the results achieved at the Bonn meeting. Afghanistan is on its way to enjoying a new peaceful future. Let us all wish them the best of luck and let's take care of them and not repeat past mistakes. Afghanistan is now reborn.
The Bonn agreement will only succeed if the Taleban are effectively neutralised to prevent a resurgence of conflict on the level of terrorism that we are now seeing in Israel. All extremist factions of that type appear to operate in the same manner. They create terror to win over the terrorised, the way mobsters would extract protection money from their victims. The tragedy is that there is no better answer.
If the agreement doesn't succeed, will the USA provide the huge amount of aid needed for the displaced people and the country ruined by this latest war?
The talks in Bonn are very promising and every Afghan is looking forward to having peace in their country. It is now very important that a UN peacekeeping force moves into Afghanistan to maintain this peace.
I think there is a very good chance of the agreement succeeding seeing as all the groups have come together and agreed on a way forward. Compare this with the trouble in Israel where it is just tit for tat violence.
I feel that there is always the chance of good happening when you can persuade people to sit around a table and discuss things. However I am not sure whether the groups in Bonn are representative of the Afghan population by a long way.
At the beginning of the conflict it was stated that the Pashtun's equalled over 65% of the population. Recent figures suggest 38%. Where did these people evaporate to? If the representation is unfair then civil war and/or ethnic cleansing by the minority rulers could ensue.
Dr. P. Elundi, Pakistan, Islamabad
Unfortunately, the Afghans have lived a violent life for many generations. Before the British in the 19th century, before the Soviet invasion and American involvement, they were already fighting and dying. There must be a complete change of heart in the Afghan people otherwise, the best of intentions in talks and negotiations will be for naught.
Unless something is done about the masses of weapons left in the country and the production of opium instead of wheat and other food crops, there will be a return to the anarchy of the past. There must be no aid money until those two problems are solved.
When will the vested
powers think hard
and positive towards
Afghanistan? Why is it being used as a
Although I have great faith in the almost boundless power of dialogue, these factions have been bickering almost constantly since 1989, when the Soviets left. I fear final resolution may not come during this round of talks.
Arif Sayed, Dubai,UAE
I hope that the conference in Bonn will bring about an acceptable solution for everyone and that it will create a government or board which will represent interests of all the people. I think the West should bear in mind that Afghanistan is a different country with different traditions and with different ways and traditions and understanding of human rights, women question etc...
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