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Anaylsts: Taleban Not Worried about UN Sanctions - 2001-07-28

The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote as early as Monday on a resolution authorizing U.N. monitors to help enforce an arms embargo and other sanctions against Afghanistan's Taleban rulers. VOA's Dale Gavlak discussed the sanctions issue and Afghanistan's militant Islamic leaders with analysts.

Political analysts familiar with the Afghan crisis, like Nasir Shansab, say U.N. sanctions have neither positively influenced Taleban actions nor have they pushed the radical leaders to seek a settlement to end fighting that erupted in 1996.

"Isolation and punishment of the Taleban are ineffective and counter-productive, and they have gone into more extreme positions because of the isolation they feel," he said.

Nearly two years ago, the U.N. Security Council froze Taleban assets and slapped an international flight ban on Afghanistan's national airline in a bid to pressure the hardline Islamic militia to turn over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. But the Taleban rulers have not budged, saying they have a moral and Islamic obligation to protect bin Laden.

Analyst Elie Krakowski, a former advisor to the U.S. Defense Department on international security issues, recently visited Central Asia. He argues that Afghanistan's neighbors, particularly Iran and China, are becoming increasingly worried by the instability in the region and want to see a political settlement come about. He downplayed a recent Human Right Watch report which accused Pakistan, Iran and Russia of contributing to the ongoing war.

"Continued involvement of outside states is bound to be, and it is nothing short of foolish to claim and say that all we need to do is get the outside states to stop from intervening," he said. "That's not going to happen. So the issue is not stopping outside intervention but rechanneling it to a more constructive direction. That is doable, right now it is very doable because the varied states are getting very scared, very worried; even the Chinese who were not, are becoming very worried and they are ready to do something. The Iranians I know are."

Both men say the United States has an important role to play in helping to bring about peace in Afghanistan and ending the humanitarian crisis that has left millions homeless and without food.

Mr. Shansab, an independent analyst, believes that the United States and other countries must become involved again in Afghanistan by caring for the refugees and the internally displaced. He says that, by doing this, the outside world may positively influence Afghanistan's current rulers.

"It is important for the outside world to go and help the Afghanis physically and economically," he said. "Then, maybe we can also have an impact on the political views and maybe impact the views of the leaders. This may slowly and gradually bring peace to the country."

Mr. Shansab says the U.N. sanctions regime is fraught with problems and can never solve the crisis. Chiefly, a plan to monitor sanctions will not succeed because it is very difficult to monitor Afghanistan's rugged and sparsely populated borders.