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Britain Plans Afghan Rehabilitation - 2001-10-22

Britain has laid out a four point program to rehabilitate Afghanistan once military action ends there. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says the United Nations will take the lead in rebuilding a post-war Afghanistan.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has presented Britain's views on Afghanistan's future in a major policy speech in London.

He said it is not clear how long U.S.-led combat will continue against terrorist and military targets in Afghanistan. But he said the world needs to get ready for possible, sudden changes there even as the fighting goes on. Mr. Straw said four principles should guide future world relations with Afghanistan.

First, he said, the Afghan people will be primarily responsible for reconstituting their government. Secondly, a global coalition of nations must help rebuild Afghanistan. Thirdly, the United Nations must lead reconstruction efforts.

And finally, he said, the world must make a long term commitment to ensure peace, stability, and economic revival in Afghanistan.

Mr. Straw says world security hinges on working with the Afghan people to stamp out terrorism. "We believe we therefore share an objective with the Afghan people for a stable, durable, representative government committed to eradicating terrorism," he says. "Only if we can help the Afghan people create something like a normal nation again will we be able to safeguard the security of our own nation and of the world," he says.

Mr. Straw said peacekeeping efforts could get underway before fighting ends in all parts of Afghanistan. He said that might involve local anti-Taleban militias as well as U.N. peacekeepers.