HomeMEDIA RESOURCES20039 November - ORLANDO, Florida: PRESS COMMUNIQUE
9 November - ORLANDO, Florida: PRESS COMMUNIQUE
TALEBAN RECRUITS OPENLY IN PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN EXPERT TELLS NATO
The Taleban are openly recruiting in Pakistan and Afghanistan and could make a comeback unless the international force currently policing the country takes action to disarm factional militias and establish real security, one of the world's leading experts on Afghanistan has warned NATO parliamentarians.
"The Taleban have established bases in Pakistan, where the provincial governments bordering Afghanistan and, possibly some parts of the military, support them. They recruit and operate openly in Quetta and other Pakistani cities, despite Pakistan's claims to support US efforts in Afghanistan," Dr Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies at New York University's Center on International Cooperation said.
Dr Rubin was addressing the NATO-Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security. He told parliamentarians from 19 NATO member states and 20 associate countries that the Taleban were able to recruit because of the current situation in Afghanistan which had not seen the demobilising and disarmament process promised under the Bonn accords which led to the current government.
"Pashtuns see that despite appearances, effective power belongs to a criminalised Tajik faction that enjoys the support, in their view, of the US and UN. Many of the local officials in the Pashtun areas are corrupt and brutal local commanders linked to the Northern Alliance," Dr. Rubin stated.
He added that ordinary Afghans who yearned for real security and freedom from warlords and their militias were "increasingly sceptical of promises of democracy and reconstruction" from the international community.
"The major sources of the security and political crisis are in part are in part due to failures of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It has not carried out the primary task allotted to it by the Bonn agreement, ending the dominance of the capital city, Kabul, by factional militias," Mr Rubin said.
On August 11 2003, NATO took over command and co-ordination of ISAF in Afghanistan, paving the way for NATO's first mission beyond the Euro-Atlantic area.
However, in his address Dr.. Rubin said it was still not too late to take measures which would help shore up the fragile government of Hamid Karzai.
The vast majority still wants this government to succeed, but a growing minority has concluded that the real alternatives are rule by the warlords, supported by the US, or the Taleban. Faced with this choice more and more will choose the latter," Mr Rubin stated. He said warlords had been emboldened by what they see as the weakness of the international community and have continued to "grab power, traffic opium, and loot land and other assets without opposition."
Dr Rubin, who has written extensively about Afghanistan for more than 20 years, urged a show of resolve which he said would lead "not to open warfare or diehard resistance, but to negotiations and eventually retreat."
The NATO-PA began its 49th Annual Session in Orlando, Florida on November 7. The five-day session is devoted to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the new security threats facing NATO.
[Journalists interested in more information or obtaining a copy of the speech should contact Mr Jonathan Clayton or Mr Keith Williams at the press service of the NATO PA on the following numbers: +1 407 685 6158 and +1 407 685 6159. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]