The United Nations Security Council yesterday voted unanimously for a resolution encouraging member states to providemilitary and other support for security arrangements in areas no longer controlled by the Taliban militia.
The United Nations’ top Afghan envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, had previously resisted sending foreign troops intoAfghanistan. But he now says that the dramatic collapse of Taliban rule means there is no time to arrange an Afghansecurity force, and international troops would be needed to protect the new administration.
Diplomats at the UN say the bulk of the force would have to be Muslim to avoid the appearance that Afghanistan isbeing colonized by the west. The US Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, says that Turkey, Bangladesh andIndonesia have offered soldiers for a multinational force. Just after East Timor’s historic vote for independencefrom Indonesia in 1999, the Indonesian military killed thousands of East Timorese and burnt three-fourths of theinfrastructure to the ground. The Indonesian military has also killed thousands of civilians in Aceh and West Papuain recent years.
The U.N. plans could come into conflict with the Northern Alliance, which took Kabul this week in defiance of U.S.warnings not to enter the city. The Northern Alliance’s foreign minister says any effort to build an interimadministration should convene under alliance auspices in Kabul. The Northern Alliance also says that the formerAfghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah, whom the U.S. favors as the head of the new government, can return to Afghanistanonly as a private citizen.
Meanwhile, the Security Council seems to have made no effort to include Afghan women in the building of their futuregovernment.
- Phyllis Bennis, a Fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies and author of ??Calling the Shots: HowWashington Dominates Today’s UN.
- Sonali Kolhathar, spokesperson for Afghan Women’s Mission, which works closely with the RevolutionaryAssociation of the Women of Afghanistan.
- Joel Charny, Vice President for policy at Refugees International, a Washington based advocacyorganization.