The collapsed state of Afghanistan appeared a step closer to getting a caretaker government yesterday, with the two main political factions attending UN-guided peace talks in Bonn saying they were close to an agreement on how to share power — for a few months at least.
The framework of a deal was reportedly struck between the Northern Alliance, the dominant faction whose military commanders control most of the country, and the Rome-based group of exiles loyal to Afghanistan’s aged former monarch, Mohamed Zahir Shah.
In a crucial u-turn, the Northern Alliance yesterday agreed to an international force to maintain security in Afghanistan after opposition to international troops being sent into the country.
Britain and other European countries have proposed going in top Afghanistan temporarily until a force made up of troops from Turkey, Indonesia and other Muslim countries is formed.
Failure to reach agreement on troops threatened to scuttle the talks. Other Afghan groups warned that they would boycott the new government being proposed for Kabul because they feared for their safety from alliance troops, who are mainly Tajiks and who control the city.
Delegates reported good progress in other areas under negotiation. They said they were close to reaching an agreement on the shape and membership of an interim government for Afghanistan. It would be Afghanistan’s first eve rbroad-based government in a history scarred by ethnic divisions.
- Charles Michael Ray, correspondent for Free Speech Radio News in Bonn.