WASHINGTON – The United States has repeatedly said the United Nations should play a major role in the development of a post-war Afghanistan, but Afghanistan's champion in the international body is saying not so fast.
Lakhdar Brahimi, who is in charge of U.N. operations in Afghanistan, said the United Nation's peacekeeping record doesn't bode well for operations in Afghanistan.
"Afghanistan is a very difficult country," Brahimi said. "It's a very proud people and they don't like to be ordered around by foreigners. They don't like to see foreigners there, especially in military uniforms."
Brahimi urged the Security Council this week not to rush in with peacekeepers when the U.S.-led military campaign ends.
Brahimi is meeting Friday with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman, and State Department's Director of Policy Planning and head of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan Richard Haass. He is also meeting with officials at the National Security Council to discuss a future political structure for the country.
Armitage said that he thinks the United Nations will have to be involved in a post-war Afghanistan since its future should not be left up to the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Taliban leadership, accused of harboring Usama bin Laden and his terror network Al Qaeda. Bin Laden is implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington as well as numerous other terrorist incidents on American targets worldwide.
Armitage also told a British news agency Thursday that the Taliban leadership "certainly will have to go," but is leaving open the possibility of including Taliban figures in a broad-based Afghan government.
That brought scorn from an Afghan opposition leader, who Thursday wrote Haass to say he vehemently opposes any suggestion that moderate elements of the ruling Taliban militia might have a role in a future government in Kabul.
The Taliban should be tried in court, not allowed to govern, said Ravan Farhadi, Afghanistan's U.N. ambassador, who represents the former Afghan government led by Burhanuddin Rabbani, which is still recognized by the United Nations but not by the United States.
"The Taliban have given not only shelter to bin Laden but they facilitated his international terroristic acts," Farhadi told reporters after handing a note to Haass in a U.N. corridor in New York. "We think that the Taliban leaders ... need to be (on) trial in a court."
Farhadi accused the Taliban of committing genocide and crimes against humanity and of providing training centers and safe haven for terrorists.
"In no way they could be considered as eligible for the future political setup of a democratic Afghanistan," he said in the note to Haass.
Farhadi's opposition group is part of the northern-based opposition alliance fighting the Taliban.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.