Interim Afghan Government Created
Following a full night of talks, the four Afghan factions signed the U.N. brokered pact Wednesday morning amid applause and embraces.
Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun tribal commander, will act as chairman of the interim administration. A supporter of the deposed king, Karzai, 44, has widespread support with factions in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.
Delegates have also chosen two-thirds of a 29-member administration. As chairman, Karzai will have five vice chairpersons. The remainder will consist of 23 ministers and deputy ministers.
The new administration faces the challenge of ruling a country that has been ravaged by war for the last two decades. It will also reintroduce a role for women in public life, ensuring re-establishment of education and employment, as well as inclusion in government affairs. At least one of the five vice chairpersons and one of the 23 ministers will be female.
The interim government will also lay the groundwork necessary to set up a national army and supreme court.
Reaching the agreement secures billions of dollars’ worth of reconstruction aid that had been contingent on a broadbased coalition government.
“Nowhere is the feeling of hope greater than among the people of Afghanistan, who during 23 years of tragedy and loss have maintained the hope that peace and stability could be restored one day in their country,” said Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan.
Brahimi, who brokered the deal, will go to Afghanistan early next week to prepare for the transfer of power.
Preparing for the power transfer
The eventual arrival of the interim government will supplant the current administration in the country led by Northern Alliance leader and former president, Burhannudin Rabbani. In an overture of goodwill, the U.N. thanked Rabbani for defending his country. Mr. Rabbani’s opposition to the interim government often stalled the nine days of talks, straining his relationship with the U.N.
The new administration is slated to take power on Dec. 22. During the transitional period, international security forces will monitor Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.
The United States supports the security forces around Kabul, noting their presence will not interfere in the mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida members. France is in the process of drafting the Security Council resolution and British troops will makeup the core force.
The interim government will rule for six months, according to the agreement. At the end of six months, a national assembly of Afghan tribal leaders, or a loya jirga, will convene to ratify a transitional government. The transitional government would then remain in power for two to three years, while a constitution is drafted. Elections will then be held at the end of this transitional period.
Unique particulars of the agreement allow representatives of Afghan refugees living in Iran, Pakistan to participate in the assembly of tribal leaders.
The agreement forbids the new government from granting amnesty to anyone who has committed war crimes.
The agreement is already facing some opposition in Kabul. The deal calls for the disarming of various militia and military units once the multinational force is deployed. Forces in Kabul, including Mr. Rabbani’s, argue the disarmament will allow the West and U.N. to introduce foreign troops, to disband the mujahadeen and to organize war crimes trials.