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UN Official Says Military Campaign has Negative, Positive Effects - 2001-11-08

A U.N. analyst says the current U.S.-led military campaign against Taleban and terrorist targets in Afghanistan is having both negative and potentially positive effects on the civilian population.

Kamal Hossain, the U.N. special observer for Afghanistan, says the bombing campaign has obviously increased the numbers of refugees and internally displaced people as well as inhibited the delivery of relief supplies.

However, for Mr. Hossain, military efforts by the United States and its coalition partners may finally allow the Afghan people to create a new government. "That [military action] has created the possibility of conditions where the Afghan people can begin to come together and have a unified Afghanistan restored to the people," he said. "I believe that could be of very critical importance in terms of improving human rights in Afghanistan. It could bring about a framework change in which people, all segments, all ethnic backgrounds, women as well as men, could together involve themselves in an inclusive participatory process."

Mr. Hossain, a lawyer from Bangladesh, characterized the Afghan people as "hostages in their own country" who should be given an opportunity to restore human rights and the rule of law.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the special U.N. envoy for Afghanistan will soon [expected Friday afternoon] return to headquarters after an extensive round of consultations with leaders in the Afghan region. Mr. Brahimi is expected to make recommendations on how talks may proceed to develop a broad-based government in Afghanistan.