EU welcomes deal on interim Afghan administration

Representatives of four Afghan rival factions signed an agreement on 5 December, creating an interim government to replace the Taliban regime. The interim administration will be headed by a Pashtun leader, Hamid Karzai, and will take power in Kabul on 22 December for a period of six months.

The 46 year old Karzai, a relative of the former king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, is considered widely acceptable to different factions in Afghanistan and the neighouring countries.

The interim administration will be dominated by members of the Northern Alliance, which currently controls Kabul.

The new administration has to be endorsed by the traditional assembly of tribal elders, theloya jirgaexpected to convene in the spring. The assembly will create a transitional government that will rule Afghanistan for up to two years, when elections are supposed to be held. A new constitution will be written by the transitional government. The assembly will also pick a head of state. That could be the former king, Zahir Shah, who remains popular in Afghanistan.

The UN Security Council is now expected to authorize an international security force for Kabul, as agreed between the Afghan factions. The force would be organised and led by Britain.

 

The European External Relations Commissioner Chris Pattenhas welcomed the agreement on the Afghan interim government. "This is an important - and long-awaited - day for the Afghan people. It should lay the foundation for a stable, peaceful and democratic future for the country and will provide the international community with a partner for providing reconstruction assistance," said Mr Patten.

The EU High Representative for foreign and security policy, Javier Solana, said that the agreement signals "an historic day for Afghanistan". "Afghan representatives in Bonn and in Kabul were right to place the future of their country above any other consideration," said Mr Solana. He added that the EU "is determined to spare no effort" to support Afghans politically and economically.

However, theleader of the Northern Alliance, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and his Pashtun Wahabi ally, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, are reported to be unhappy with the agreement. Diplomats have warned that they may try to make its implementation difficult.

 

The meeting of four rival factions from Afghanistan was convened by the United Nations (UN) on 27 November in Bonn (seeEURACTIVof 27 November 2001) in order to end 20 years of warfare and stop support for Islamic terrorist groups who organised the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States.

 

The peace agreement was the condition for the participation of the international community in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The EU will host the first international donors conference for Afghanistan on 17-18 December in Brussels.

 

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