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Afghanistan: Debate Continues Over Future Government

Prague, 25 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The debate over post-Taliban scenarios in Afghanistan continued today among international officials and exiled Afghan opposition leaders. In an interview with the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera," UN special envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi ruled out the possibility of a UN peacekeeping force, saying Afghanistan had a right to self-determination. He said Afghans alone must chose their own government, but added that he thought the UN would not accept this formula.

Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, said today that the UN would have a role to play in Afghanistan's post-Taliban future.

Abdullah said there would be three phases should the Taliban be defeated: pacification, rehabilitation, and reconstruction and elections.

Exiled Afghan opposition leaders have said they would support an interim UN peacekeeping force in the country. In resolutions ending a two-day meeting in Pakistan, Afghan exiles today called for a grand assembly to decide the future of Afghanistan, saying no single group should fill the political vacuum if the Taliban regime falls.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday the UN should take the lead on postwar Afghanistan and consult with the country's neighbors, as well as with China and Russia. He said the next government of Afghanistan "cannot be dictated into being by Pakistan."