The following editorial was published Tuesday in the Financial Times, London, on building a post-Taliban regime:
The U.S. has stepped up the military tempo in Afghanistan and the advances by its proxy fighters, the Northern Alliance, have been striking. Now is the time to accelerate efforts to agree on the makeup of a post-Taliban regime.
The military and political track are closely linked. Afghanistan is a failed state, divided on ethnic lines and vulnerable to meddling from outside powers. In the absence of a political settlement, the country will revert to chaos and civil war.
The United Nations can help to broker such an agreement. ... The Alliance should realize that defeat of the Taliban does not signal an outright victory for them. The Pashtuns must be included in numbers if a new regime is to have a chance of survival.
No one should be under any illusions. Any government in Kabul will be notional. Most of the power will remain in the hands of regional warlords. ... The UN should focus on three priorities. It should prepare to set up protectorates in the major cities. ... (and) provide a future peacekeeping force to assure minimum law and order. A Western-led force would offend Muslim sensitivities. Turkey and other "neutral" countries could play a constructive role on the ground.
The third priority is to bridge divisions inside the "six-plus-two" talks involving Afghanistan's six neighbors, plus Russia and the U.S.
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