The Afghanistan Foundation, founded by former Congressman Don Ritter (R-PA) has implored President Clinton to take a stronger stance against the Taliban. Ritter said that while the President’s current economic and trade sanctions towards the regime are a good start, there is much more that needs to be done.
Ritter believes that the imposed sanctions are significant, but that they are primarily symbolic. He said that the money exchanged between the U.S. and the Taliban amounts only to $24 million, a relatively trivial sum.
The group proposed that the U.S. reach out to political moderates to gain their support, and to establish a “special” representative to Afghanistan. In addition, the Foundation urged the Clinton Administration to increase the amount of humanitarian aid for Afghanistan (currently $40 million annually) to “alleviate the suffering of the people of Afghanistan outside the control of Taliban radicals to weaken and transfer the Taliban and to protest human rights abuses and the denial of basic [human] rights to women.” The organization contended that Clinton’s sanctions have not adequately addressed the problems of Afghanistan’s terrorism narcotic’s trade, or human rights abuses.
In related news, 23 Afghan immigrants who are being detained in Hungary have launched a hunger strike against authorities. The refugees are seeking political asylum on counts that they were “victims of political or religious discrimination in their homeland,” and have demanded that they be released to a refugee reception center.