SRSG Brahimi’s Interview with CNN

Commenting on how the CLJ had not yet reached to the real substance of its debate
Thermal [Constitutional] debate has not started in earnest. The first days two were mainly about organizing the work and that has gone very well. They have just now broken into 10 committees and each one of these committees is now electing its office holders. I think tomorrow the work will starting earnest. You have 500 people here from all over Afghanistan as well as from Pakistan and Iran representing the refugees, and special categories like the nomads, Hindus, Sikhs and women. I think people are happy tube together and I think they realize that they are trying to create the foundation of the future state of Afghanistan. The arguments are going to be heated but I hope that at the end of it all we will have a new constitution for Afghanistan that will allow the country to move forward.

Commenting on how he thought Thecla process would play out
I think it [the Constitutional debate] is going to be difficult. These are very difficult issues that are difficult to discuss anywhere. Look at the Europeans – they have been discussing their constitution for years and ultimately, just last week, they have not been able to agree on it. So it is going tube difficult. There will be a lot of arguments and heated debate, but hope it will be possible to find compromises. As for the issues that are going to be very difficult – some of them are predictable and young I will understand why they are difficult. For example – what kind of government will they have – presidential, parliamentary or a mixture of both? Those are understandable [issues]. But there are some issues that are very local. For example: what language should be used for the national anthem? Should Pashto be the only national language or should both Dari and Pashto be called national languages? These are probably issues that are difficult to understand by people from the outside but because of the divisions, because of the fractures that exist in the country, these are also very important issues for the people of this country.

Commenting of the lack of reach of the Government and the factional nature of the country
Yes this country has been thoroughly broken up and destroyed during 23 years of war and indeed 30 years of conflict. So it is not going to be put together easily or quickly. Testate that existed 30 years ago was not very strong and that [same] weak state has been thoroughly destroyed throughout all the [25] years. So I think that you need a lot of perseverance, determination and patience if you want to put the country together. It is not true when people say that the Government has no control outside of Kabul. Nobody discusses the fact that Hamid Karzai is the President of this country or that his government is the government of this country. The thing is that they do not have the means to project their power. They need more telephones and there are no roads. Today, as a matter of fact, was the inauguration of a road from Kabul to Kandahar. Previously people took almost 24 hours to travel about 500 kilometers. Now I think this is going to be done in six or seven hours. So the Government does not have the means to project its powers and I hope that the international community will help them acquire that.

Commenting on the UN operating in an insecure environment
I think it has taken time for the international community to provide all the help they have promised and it has taken time for the Government of Afghanistan to be capable of making use of that support. There are also, I think one must add, still dangers. The Taliban who were defeated and routed two years ago by United States airpower have had time to reorganize and they are now creating insecurity in some parts of the country. These are threats that should be taken seriously. I don’t think the Taliban are anywhere near taking power back. But these insecurities are [nevertheless] a very serious problem that have to be taken seriously and addressed by both the Government and its international partners.

Commenting on whether progress had been made
I think if you look at where we were, huge progress has been made in these two years. If you look at what remains to be done it [progress] is very little. As I told you earlier this is a country that has been thoroughly destroyed by massive Soviet intervention first and then by civil wars that have been ravaging the country non-stop for well over two decades. All the problems left over from these conflicts cannot be solved overnight. So what we say generally is that the peace process, which began in Bonn seems to be working and progress has been made. But I think no complacency is acceptable. There is still much that remains to be done. There are a lot of dangers ahead. I think the Afghans are still divided while the Government’s popular base is not wide enough and should be widened sooner rather later. And I think the international community should increase its support and should stay engaged.