Pakistan: Taliban Should Have Role in Afghan Reconstruction

Claiming that, “One knows for sure there are many moderate elements within the Taliban communities,” Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to Pakistan yesterday, suggested that so-called moderate factions of the Taliban should play a role in the formation of a new Afghan government. Powell has also suggested that aspects of the Taliban may be incorporated into a reconstructed Afghan government. Indian officials quickly criticized Powell and Musharraf for endorsing the idea that members of the Taliban could be called “moderate.” Indian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Nirumpama Rao commented, “Moderate Taliban is an oxymoron. There should be no place for Taliban in the infrastructure.”

The Feminist Majority is increasingly concerned that “moderate” elements of the Taliban may be considered in Afghan reconstruction. FM is also concerned about Pakistan’s backing of this plan given its history with the Taliban. Pakistan was the primary source of military support for the Taliban before the U.S.-led war against terrorism began. Taliban soldiers are often recruited from Pakistani refugee camps and trained in religious extremist schools in Pakistan called madrassas. According to refugee reports, the Taliban’s sphere of influence extends into Pakistan where soldiers roam camps, terrorizing women and children who are seventy-five percent of the Afghan refugee population. Many Afghans interviewed by the Feminist Majority believe that the Taliban is principally a Pakistan-led and supplied occupying foreign military force.

The United Nations is now considering a request made by former Afghan king Zahir Shah to send U.N. peacekeepers to Afghanistan once U.S.-led military strikes end. Lakhadar Brahimi, U.N. special convoy for Afghanistan, however, has appealed to the Security Council not to “rush to establish a peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.” Brahimi warned that a peacekeeping mission may not have the political or financial support to succeed. He suggested instead that the U.N. continue to focus on humanitarian aid and government reconstruction.

The Feminist Majority has urged the U.S. to increase humanitarian aid, restore the rights of Afghan women, and re-establish a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan. To find out how you can help, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.


Washington Post, 10/17/01; Feminist Majority

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