UN not working on new setup

November 02, 2001


ISLAMABAD, Nov 1: The UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Thursday said that the United Nations has not received a mandate to form government in Afghanistan nor he was aware of the Taliban’s role in any future broad-based setup.

Answering questions at a crowded news conference, the UN special representative said, “I am not involved in installing a government anywhere.”

He said the UN is not constructing a government in Afghanistan, but under a new added mandate given by the international community, the world body is entrusted with the task of providing humanitarian assistance and preparing for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

“The UN must prepare the transition from humanitarian assistance to reconstruction and development. The task will require a major financial effort and all those countries which failed Afghanistan in the past have promised not to repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said.

Earlier, reading a written speech, the UN special envoy said that a broad-based, multi-linguistic and fully representative government must be established in Afghanistan.

Mr Brahimi said that all Afghans he has spoken to over the past week have indicated their broad adherence to the above views.

Answering a question about his meeting the Taliban, Mr Brahimi said, “At this particular juncture, there is not much benefit talking to Taliban. Talking to the Taliban will give wrong signals to other factions.”

He clarified that UN was not against the Taliban and UN officials were in contact with them. “The Taliban wanted to see us.” He said, the UNHCR chief Ruud Lubbers has met the Taliban, and meetings could be held with them in future if the they were interested.

Rejecting allegations of UN’s partiality levelled by the Taliban ambassador earlier on Wednesday, Mr Brahimi said all Afghan factions know that the UN is impartial and is engaging all sections of the society.