No peace in Afghanistan without Taliban participation: former UN mission chief in Afghanistan

Date of Publication : Saturday 9 October 2010 11:46
  COPENHAGEN, Oct. 8  -- The former UN mission chief in Afghanistan said Thursday there would be no peace in Afghanistan without the participation of Taliban insurgents. During his visit, the Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan until March 2010, stressed the need to involve the Taliban in the peace process. The war cannot be won by military means, but only politically, Eide said, and despite achievements in areas such as health and education, there is still a long way to go, the military alone not being the solution. What is needed is a trust in the Afghan people to solve the situation themselves, with increased independent civilian assistance, he said. He identified four priority areas: agriculture, infrastructure, education and building a civilian administrative structure. All these will also help create a middle class which will be the driving force of development, he said. Time and patience are required and no deadline should be imposed, he said. Setting a deadline for troop withdrawal as U.S. President Barack Obama has done is a big mistake, Eide said. Eide was invited by the Danish United Nations Association, which urges a withdrawal of Danish troops in early 2011 and a takeover by the UN by establishing a peacemaking UN-force.
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