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UN Afghan Ambassador Wants US to Consult on Strategies - 2001-09-18

Afghanistan's ambassador to the United Nations, Ravan Farhadi, says the United States should be consulting with his government on strategies to deal with terrorism.

Mr. Farhadi represents the Northern Alliance that has been waging war against the Taleban movement in Afghanistan. His government is recognized by the United Nations as the legitimate authority in Afghanistan even though it controls a relatively small amount of territory Mr. Farhadi says 25 percent of the country, others say only about 10 percent.

Mr. Farhadi told reporters his government has been warning for years about Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network based in Taleban-controlled Afghanistan. The Afghan ambassador told reporters he is skeptical that Pakistan will genuinely cooperate with the United States because Pakistan has been supporting the Taleban. Rather, Mr. Farhadi said, the United States should be working closely with his government.

Saying "you can not kill wasps with a hammer," Mr. Farhadi said air strikes would probably do little to eliminate terror operations in Afghanistan.

"It means nothing to bomb Kabul or to bomb Kandahar, that would be useless," he said. "What we say is that we have 15,000 people on our side ready to fight, these are people trained to fight the Taleban, a job they have done for five years. This group should be helped and 15,000 additional [fighters] would be ready if needed. This is very important and we know the land, we know the country and we know where Mr. bin Laden can hide."

Mr. Farhadi also claimed that there is an underground movement in Taleban-controlled territory against the Taleban.

Mr. Farhadi said that, in any case, the Northern Alliance will continue its fight against the Taleban but wants cooperation with the United States should it be planning any military operation in Afghanistan.