November 14, 2001 - Omaha World Herald: RPCV Expert on Taliban comments on Afghan Situation

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 14, 2001 - Omaha World Herald: RPCV Expert on Taliban comments on Afghan Situation

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 3:25 pm: Edit Post

November 14 - Omaha World Herald: RPCV Expert on Taliban comments on Afghan Situation

Read this story from the Omaha World Herald on RPCV Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on the current situation in Afghanistan at:

Capital's capture heightens local concerns

Capital's capture heightens local concerns Omaha experts say steps must be taken to reassure Kabul ...

Nov 14, 2001 - Omaha World-Herald Author(s): Stephen Buttry

The international community must act quickly to place a peacekeeping force in Kabul and assist in setting up a broad-based government, Omaha's Afghanistan experts said Tuesday.

While Afghans are celebrating the Taliban's retreat, many worry as they recall past atrocities by groups making up the Northern Alliance.

"We need to reassure the people of Kabul," said Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. "We need to reinforce that this wasn't just to restore the Northern Alliance to power."

Tuesday's capture of the capital heightened a concern that Tajuddin Millatmal has had ever since U.S. forces started supporting the Northern Alliance.

"It was their atrocities that people were so tired of that they welcomed the Taliban," said Millatmal, an Afghan physician who fled his homeland in 1980 and remains involved in the country's politics.

President Bush showed his concern by calling on the Northern Alliance not to capture Kabul before a government was ready. But when the Taliban forces retreated from the capital Tuesday, joyful Northern Alliance troops entered without a fight.

"If you come to the door of the city and the door is open, you don't wait outside. You go in," said Raheem Yaseer, an Afghan native who is campus coordinator of the UNO program.

Yaseer said the United States and the United Nations should move quickly to form a peacekeeping force and establish an "atmosphere of neutrality" in the capital before infighting starts among the groups that make up the Northern Alliance.

The Northern Alliance includes leaders of Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara militias, but not Afghanistan's largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns. The Taliban leaders are Pashtun, which is the majority group in southern Afghanistan.

Any provisional or permanent government must unite all of the nation's many factions and ethnic groups or the 23-year civil war will continue, Yaseer said. "No single group will govern the country and be acceptable."

Gouttierre said he is optimistic that Hamid Karzai, who is leading anti-Taliban Pashtun forces against the Taliban in the south, will work with the Northern Alliance to support a broad-based government.

Karzai is a longtime friend of Gouttierre's, who has been involved with Afghanistan since he went there as a Peace Corps volunteer 37 years ago. Karzai visited UNO in 1999, after the assassination of his father, Abdul-Ahad Karzai, in Pakistan.

When the elder Karzai was slain, 13 Afghan leaders from various ethnic groups were meeting at UNO to discuss plans for a post- Taliban government. Hamid Karzai was instrumental in arranging that five-week conference and is committed to uniting his country, Gouttierre said.

"He's very crucial to all the future plans," Gouttierre said.

Karzai has been in touch with UNO contacts as he returned to Afghanistan and assembled forces to fight the Taliban.

"We knew where he was going and when he was going there," Gouttierre said.

The Taliban gave up Kabul quicker than the UNO dean expected, but he was not surprised. "The depth of the Talibs' support was rather shallow," Gouttierre said.

Millatmal said efforts to establish a government have given too much credibility to militia groups without involving Afghanistan's intellectual and democratic leaders. He said the United States and United Nations have not done enough to find a way "to rebuild Afghanistan when we get rid of the Taliban."

International efforts to install a provisional government revolve around the 86-year-old exiled king, Mohammad Zaher Shah, a Pashtun who was deposed in 1973.

"The king is a symbol of unity," Yaseer said, adding that he can bring stability while the nation assembles a Loya Jirga, Afghanistan's traditional national assembly, to address important issues.

The king would not reign long. "What he's going to be able to do is bang the gavel, get the Loya Jirga started and retreat to a mediator role after that," Gouttierre said.

Millatmal was skeptical about how well the king could unite Afghans.

"He very dramatically damaged his influence with the Afghan people" by working too closely with the Northern Alliance, Millatmal said.

Gouttierre said some former Taliban allies who may know the location of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida forces probably switched sides when the Northern Alliance took Kabul.

"This has got to improve our intelligence," Gouttierre said.

He said bin Laden's Afghan support could erode quickly. "They're not going to stand with him till the last guy is dead."

By Anonymous ( - on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 5:52 pm: Edit Post

Dr. Millatmal was right from long time. He continualy warrened the American Officials, elected representatives, including President Bush himself, 7 months before 9/11. Unfortunately, he ignored. No wonder why Michael Moor said so in fornhite 9/11. Taj continued to oppose the American ploicies after the invasion and warrened the official about the possible unity between the communists and the Northern Alliance Islamic Groups, as it is happening. Refer to BBC on march 11th, 07. American must support the formation of a new Democratic Nationalist party in Afghanistan, otherwise the future is even darker than 9/11. Once again this is his prediction as many other of his predictions were revealed to be exactly as he predicted.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.