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November 24, 2001
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US for all-inclusive govt in Afghanistan

T V Parasuram in Washington

The United States on Friday said only a broad-based government in Afghanistan could enjoy the "blessings" of the international community.

"In order for a government to be representative and, to get the blessings, frankly, of the international community, it should represent all the people," US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview on the National Public Radio.

He said there should be a "provisional or interim government that would last for some relatively short period of time -- a matter of months, not longer that -- and that government would immediately move to Kabul, with the UN working with them".

"Once in Kabul, we can start bringing in humanitarian supplies, and they can then begin the work of putting in place a more complete government, a government that reflects every single element of the Afghan society, especially women," he added.

Powell, with a call to reconstruct Afghanistan, said, "There are many talented, educated, Afghan women... and others who can contribute to rebuilding of the Afghan society."

Participation was in the interests of all, including the warlords, since the government would have international support and would control all humanitarian and reconstruction aid coming into the country, he said.

"That's a powerful incentive, to be able to rebuild your country, rather than... cling on to the remnants of the Taleban authority," he added.

Regarding the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, Powell said the issue was under consideration and that 40 nations had offered military assistance.

The final decision would depend on the security situation in the country, he said.

French and Jordanian troops were moving to northern Afghanistan, the hardest hit area, for facilitating the delivery of supplies from Uzbekistan, Powell said.

Commenting on Tuesday's meeting in Germany of various Afghan factions, he said, "It won't be a very large meeting. I doubt if more than 20 to 30 people would be there. But it would be helpful if every one of the major groups are represented, and if they came into agreement that they should form a provisional or interim government...."

PTI

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