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UN Panel Endorses Multi-Ethnic Afghan Government - 2001-11-12

A special committee of the United Nations has given full support to efforts to create a broad based, multi-ethnic government in Afghanistan as soon as possible.

The committee, known as the "Six Plus Two Group," is made up of representatives of Afghanistan's six neighboring governments and Russia and the United States.

After a closed meeting with the special U.N. envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, the group issued a statement saying the terrorists and their Taleban supporters in Afghanistan must be brought to justice. At the same time, the group stressed that it is now urgent to help Afghans who are committed to a broad-based government.

After the meeting, Mr. Brahimi spoke briefly to reporters, saying that because of the speed of military developments on the ground in Afghanistan, speed in establishing a new governmental administration is essential. "I hope that, because of the developments on the ground, we are going to try, as soon as possible, to get a representative sample of the Afghan population together and see what kind of interim arrangements we can make together for Kabul," he said.

Mr. Brahimi recently returned to New York following an intensive round of consultations with leaders of numerous factions in the Afghan region.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Mr. Brahimi would accelerate the pace of his work. "Mr. Brahimi will step up his work in consulting the Afghan parties and promote the idea of a broad-based Afghan government. Obviously we need to get them together and move as quickly as possible," Mr. Annan said.

There is concern at the United Nations, and elsewhere, that the Northern Alliance fighters in Afghanistan could move into the capital of Kabul before a broad-based Afghan administration is established.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last Saturday, U.S. President George W. Bush said the United States plans to work closely with the United Nations in assisting a new Afghan administration.