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UN Official Optimistic Afghan Transitional Government Will Proceed Smoothly - 2001-12-15

The U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, is optimistic that the installation of the transitional government in Afghanistan will go smoothly.

After briefing the U.N. Security Council in a closed session, Mr. Brahimi expressed confidence that the new government, headed by Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai, will take power as scheduled on December 22.

Mr. Brahimi, who helped facilitate agreement on the interim government, told reporters that all major factions in Afghanistan are definitely "on board" for the change. "I think everybody is on board," he said. "I have more than my usual cautious optimism. I am less cautious this time, about the 22nd anyway. The 22nd of December is going to happen. Everybody has something to complain about, including ourselves (U.N. officials), but I think everybody is on board inside Afghanistan."

Mr. Brahimi plans to return to the Afghan capital of Kabul next week and will stay there for the first few weeks of the transitional government.

Regarding an international security force for Afghanistan, Mr. Brahimi said he does not know if the force will be ready for deployment by December 22nd. Britain, France and Germany are among several nations that may commit troops to the security force and the U.N. Security Council is expected to authorize the force sometime next week.