17 January 2001
Text: Fact Sheet on Taliban Rule in Afghanistan
(State Department information contrasts myth and reality)(1360)
Following is a January 16 U.S. Department of State fact sheet on the
Taliban regime in Afghanistan and UN Security Council Resolution 1333:
THE TALIBAN AND UNSC RESOLUTION 1333: MYTH AND REALITY
The Taliban in Afghanistan and some of their international supporters
portray United Nations Security Council Resolution 1333 and the
sanctions that it imposes as an attack against Afghanistan, against
the Afghan people, and against Islam.
None of this is true. Such assertions intentionally distort reality to
deflect attention from one basic fact. The international community has
imposed sanctions on the Taliban because the Taliban provide training
and safehaven for international terrorists, including the indicted
terrorist Usama bin Laden.
The United Nations sanctions very specifically target only the Taliban
leadership, not the people of Afghanistan. The sanctions are
political, not economic sanctions. Trade and commerce, including in
food and medicine, continue unabated. Large-scale international
humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people continues.
We want to set the record straight.
UNSC Resolution 1333 is targeted against the people of Afghanistan and
will result in starvation, displacement, emigration, and epidemics.
(Taliban representative to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zayif, 12/20/00, in
Likewise, government officials in Pakistan have warned that the
sanctions are causing a humanitarian crisis and a surge of new Afghan
refugees into Pakistan.
This is wrong on two counts. First, the sanctions are carefully
targeted against the Taliban leadership, not against the people of
Afghanistan. Second, the sanctions are political, not economic
sanctions -- they do not prohibit private-sector trade and commerce,
including the importation of food and medicine into Afghanistan.
The deplorable humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is not the result
of UN sanctions on the Taliban. The chronic humanitarian crisis is the
result of over 20 years of war, which is continuing, in large part
because of the Taliban's refusal to seek a political settlement. It is
exacerbated by the most severe drought in 30 years, and by the
Taliban's inability to govern and to provide for the basic human needs
of the population of Afghanistan, even in areas they have long
The Taliban have failed appallingly to provide for the basic human
requirements of Afghanistan's population. The Taliban give primacy to
military and ideological matters, not to their fundamental
responsibility to provide basic human services to the people of
Afghanistan in areas that they control. While the Afghan people
require health care and education from their rulers, the Taliban have
demanded that the people provide more recruits for their military.
Food production has collapsed because of the severe drought in the
region, not because of UN sanctions. Further, the diversion of about
64,500 hectares of prime agricultural land for opium poppy production
-- most of it in areas under Taliban control -- contributes to
Afghanistan's food deficit.
More than anything else, the Taliban's continuing military offensives
in Afghanistan, not UNSC Resolution 1333, are responsible for the
recent surge of refugees into Pakistan.
The large vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and in refugee
communities rely on humanitarian assistance by the international
community, of which the United States is the largest single donor --
$113 million in 2000.
The United States wants to install a puppet regime in Afghanistan that
will be controlled from Washington. (Taliban representative to
Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zayif, 12/20/00, in Islamabad.)
The United States has no intention of choosing Afghanistan's
government. Only Afghans can do this. The United States has long
advocated a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict that takes into
account the culture and traditions of the people of Afghanistan. The
United States continues to encourage Afghans to work through various
peace processes to decide how best to establish a government that can
return their country to the family of nations and provide a normal
life for Afghan citizens.
Washington and Moscow have targeted Afghanistan because the Taliban
have established an Islamic system in the country. (Taliban
representative to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zayif, 12/20/00, in
These sanctions are aimed at suppressing Islam and Muslims. (Statement
by Taliban leader Mullah Omar, as reported by the Bakhtar News Agency,
12/20/00, in Kabul.)
The issue is terrorism, not Islam. The UN has imposed sanctions on the
Taliban because the Taliban support international terrorism, not
because Afghans are Muslims. The Taliban and their supporters are
using religion to further their ideological and geopolitical goals.
This is especially regrettable because by doing so the Taliban harm
the Afghan people, isolate Afghanistan from the rest of the world, and
indefinitely delay international reconstruction of this shattered
SUPPORTING OPINIONS FROM THE PAKISTANI PRESS
Editorial opinion in Pakistani newspapers generally opposes UNSC
sanctions against the Taliban. Some analysts, however, are uneasy with
the Taliban's policies and understand the purpose of the sanctions.
Several of these writers have called on the Taliban to comply with the
United Nations Security Council resolutions -- for the good of
Afghanistan and for the greater good of the entire region. We have
excerpted some of these views below.
From The Frontier Post, 12/27/00, Peshawar, Pakistan:
-- "Virtually the whole world (Pakistan being the sole exception) has
kept the Taliban regime in Afghanistan at an arm's length. Do the
Taliban really feel convinced that the whole world together is unwise
and they alone are the peerless paragons of wisdom? The Taliban who
rule Afghanistan should do some stiff heart-searching. They should try
to figure out why they are in the kind of predicament that is now
their lot.... The leaders in Kabul had better start thinking of their
country and government as part of the rest of the world."
From The Frontier Post, 12/22/00, Peshawar, Pakistan:
-- "It is quite evident that those who rule in Kabul do not have the
foggiest idea of how the world community lives as a civilized family
of sovereign nations respecting one another. Sovereign states have to
respect the sovereignty of other states. They have to abide by
international law and convention. The United Nations Charter is a
sacred commitment on the part of every member of the community of
nations. There is no way a member of the family of sovereign nations
can presume to disregard the UN Charter and the UN resolutions because
they constitute the consensus of the world.... The Taliban cannot be a
law unto themselves and still expect the world community to befriend
From The Friday Times, 12/22-28/00, Lahore, Pakistan:
-- "The Taliban have subscribed to laws, supposedly Islamic, that have
brought both the militia and Islam into disrepute. Their treatment of
women and children remains abominable. They have failed to govern the
people or divert resources into rebuilding the country ... they are
involved in smuggling and have given sanctuary to criminals from
Pakistan. Most significantly, while Pakistan has continued to go out
on a limb to support them, the Taliban have shown a complete disregard
for Pakistan's concerns, exposing Islamabad to international
From The Nation, 12/17/00, Lahore, Pakistan:
-- "What the Afghans need is not more Shariah but food, medicine,
shelter, and a normal life. Most Afghans were practicing Muslims
before you (the Taliban) came to power. If you would only follow a
less rigid interpretation of Shariah and allow people to practice
their faith as they have done for centuries, Afghanistan will again
become a happy and peaceful country. If you really want an Islamic
revival and renaissance, you will have to become tolerant and
progressive. You will have to convince the Afghans that your first
priority is their well-being and reconstruction and rehabilitation of
your destroyed country. You will have to give hope and opportunity to
the Afghans who reposed their trust in you in the belief that you
would restore peace and stability, end lawlessness, put the country on
the path to economic recovery, create conditions for the safe return
of refugees, and make the daily life of an ordinary Afghan less harsh,
fearful, and sad than it was before you came to power."
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
|Back to News Archirves of 2001|
Disclaimer: This news site is mostly a compilation of publicly accessible articles on the Web in the form of a link or saved news item. The news articles and commentaries/editorials are protected under international copyright laws. All credit goes to the original respective source(s).