Afghanistan: Current Issues and U.S. Policy Concerns [Updated November 15, 2001]   [open pdf - 374KB]

"The rapid unraveling of the Taliban movement continued after its withdrawal from Kabul. Independent commanders from the Pashtun ethnic group -- Pashtuns are the largest Afghan group constituting about 40% of the population -- rebelled against the Taliban in the Pashtun-dominated areas of the south and east and took control of large swaths of territory in those areas. The collapse of the Taliban has enabled the United States to send in special forces to southern Afghanistan to search for Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders, including bin Ladin himself. Citizens in areas now under opposition control, although wary of the Northern Alliance, are also enjoying new personal freedoms that were forbidden under the Taliban. Although the Northern Alliance has emerged as the dominant force in the country, the United States, Pakistan, other countries, and the United Nations are urging the Alliance to negotiate with Pashtun representatives, including those of the former King Mohammad Zahir Shah, to form a broad-based government. The Northern Alliance has not announced a new government, but there is concern that, having captured Kabul, it will be unwilling to yield significant power to anti-Taliban Pashtuns. Reflecting international interest in establishing a broad-based, stable government, on November 14 the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1378 calling for a 'central' U.N. role in establishing a transitional government. The Resolution also encourages U.N. members states to ensure the safety and security of areas no longer under Taliban control, presumably by sending forces to help keep peace and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. The United States also has pledged substantial aid to help Afghanistan reconstruct after more than two decades of war."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
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