Press Briefing on AfghanistanRichard Haass, Director of Policy Planning and U.S. Coordinator for the Future of Afghanistan;
James Dobbins, US Special Representative to the Afghan Opposition
December 7, 2001
MR. REEKER: That was a nice, quick break. Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. And, as advertised, we are very pleased to have with us two officials. I don't think I have to do any further introduction of Ambassador Richard Haass and Ambassador James Dobbins, to discuss with you Afghanistan, the talks and the process in Bonn and then the next steps forward.
So we are on a fairly short timetable. We will have short remarks from both ambassadors and then turn to your questions. Thanks.
AMBASSADOR HAASS: We will keep our remarks on Sesame Street to a minimum, since it has been covered so well.
You all know our aims in Afghanistan, to rid the country of terrorism, to get rid of al-Qaida and the Taliban leadership. We also want to bring about an Afghanistan which does not produce or export poppy. We also want to help create an Afghanistan to work with Afghans to help bring about the kind of country where the more than five million refugees can return home, where the unknown number of the internally displaced can return home.
Toward that end, we have had a five-part policy. One, obviously, the military, secondly the humanitarian, thirdly the political/diplomatic, fourthly questions of economic reconstruction and, fifthly, the question of security arrangements. We will leave the military briefings to the Pentagon for obvious reasons. We were not planning today to speak about the humanitarian, which is largely handled by AID and others.
Also on the security side, let me just say that I spoke about it yesterday when I testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. All those questions remain under active review here in the administration, so we are not going to have anything more to say on that than I was able to speak about yesterday.
We thought the bulk of what we could most usefully address without telling you what questions obviously you are free to ask, would be on the political/diplomatic front. Ambassador Dobbins is obviously just back from Bonn, and also on the questions of reconstruction. On the reconstruction front just briefly, we have had one meeting of senior officials here in Washington co-chaired by the United States and Japan. The next major event in this process will be in Brussels in approximately two weeks when senior officials will once again convene. And all of this is meant to lead the way to Japan in January, when you will have a meeting convened by the four co-chairs of the steering group, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Saudi Arabia. And we will be glad, again, to discuss any aspects of the economic reconstruction process as best we can.
With that, let me ask Jim to speak.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The one question that I get most often is why do we think we can succeed this time in putting together a broadly based regime in Afghanistan and begin a process of peaceful reconstruction when the international community has failed so often in the past? And, more recently, why do I think that we actually did succeed in Bonn, where previous meetings have failed so often in the past? And I think there are four basic reasons why we have succeeded so far and why the prospects are better for continuing than they have been in the past.
One is a much greater level of American engagement. The second, and to some degree it's a function of the first, is that all of Afghanistan's neighbors and the countries that have traditionally played the great game with Afghanistan and in Afghanistan are all for the first time, at least in several decades, pushing the Afghans together rather than pulling them apart. The third reason is that because of the attention that has been focused on Afghanistan in the last couple of months, there is a massive amount of reconstruction assistance potentially available which has not been available in those dimensions before, which is on offer but only if the Afghans are able to come together to create a broadly based government that can partner with the international community in Afghanistan's reconstruction. And finally, after 20 years of civil war, there is an immense yearning for peace in Afghanistan. And that translated, I think, into pressure on all of the delegates in the conference in Bonn, all of whom were receiving numerous phone calls from Afghanistan throughout the conference to settle, to resolve their differences, to compromise and to come to a positive conclusion.
I think that if I had to isolate just a single one of those, it would be the degree to which the international community, Afghanistan's neighbors and the countries that have traditionally had a role in Afghanistan have been working together toward a common vision of Afghanistan. And this was sort of epitomized to me in the concluding real negotiating session of this meeting, which took place about 3:00 in the morning on the morning of the actual signature. That is, about six hours before Chancellor Schroeder arrived. And there was still an important open issue.
The Northern Alliance delegation was insisting that it needed 20 of the 28 ministries if it was going to satisfy each of its constituent elements. And Brahimi, the UN negotiator, was insisting that there be a better balance between Northern Alliance and other delegations. He called on all of the international observers who were actually awake at the time, which consisted of the Russian, the American, the German, the Indian and the Iranian representatives. And we spent an hour-and-a-half, sort of seriatim, arguing the case with the United Front, the Northern Alliance representative there, until we were able to come to an agreement, which was embodied in the text that was signed six hours later.
There were lots of other meetings with different constellations of countries. But the fact that all of those countries, which traditionally have had very divergent policies on Afghanistan, sat around the table and argued from a common viewpoint, I think, was decisive in the result.
QUESTION: One for each. Richard, on your goals, you didn't mention capturing let alone killing Usama bin Laden. Does that mean you have resigned yourself you are not going to get that? And Jim -- is he in Pakistan? Where is he?
And, Jim, you make the point the US has had great influence, turned the coin around. And you see accounts saying we can't run Afghanistan after all. That's why you're beginning to get them -- hearing them say things other than the things we want to see happen. Like you hear consideration of amnesty, you hear Omar may not be it town. You're beginning to hear, let him off the hook. We're getting Bush one revisited as Bush two, but it's the Afghans' fault, maybe.
Could you do one, would you please do two? We're told we have limited time. I figure we've got about four-and-half minutes and then we're going to watch you guys on the tube tonight, probably. Go ahead.
AMBASSADOR HAASS: Thank you, Barry.
When I made clear that our first goal is the prosecution of the war, until we eliminate the al-Qaida in its entirety as well as the Taliban leadership, that obviously includes the persona of Usama bin Laden. And as the President has said on numerous times, you know, again either justice will be brought to him or he will be brought to justice. But his persona, it goes beyond him, but he, himself, is still a very important war aim of the coalition.
QUESTION: Do you know where he is, by any chance?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: We've got all sorts of, you know, fragments of information. I would say, to the best of our knowledge, he remains within Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Would you say the same for Mullah Omar?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: I think, again, the Taliban leadership is again part of the war aims of the coalition, and obviously Mullah Omar is very much a central part of the Taliban leadership.
QUESTION: So far (inaudible) between US influence and Afghan --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The Bonn agreement commits the new interim administration of Afghanistan to cooperate with the international community in the fight against terrorism and in the fight against drugs. We are not going to run Afghanistan. We can't, and we have no intention of running Afghanistan. What we are going to do is try to foster an international environment which is conducive to the Afghans running Afghanistan peacefully and in a broadly based fashion.
QUESTION: Yesterday, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you offered some rare praise for the Iranian role, in saying that what they did was constructive. I'm wondering -- you weren't there, Ambassador Dobbins was. So can you elaborate -- I'm not suggesting that you're not in the loop, but -- (laughter) -- but is what you were talking about, just as your little group of international browbeaters who went in and got the Northern Alliance to relent, is that the kind of thing that Ambassador Haass was talking about yesterday, in terms of what the Iranians were doing behind the scenes? And if -- can you expand on that?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Yes, I think there were a number of occasions like that. Another instance in which a number of countries weighed in was when President Rabbani was raising doubts about his willingness to go along with the process as a whole, and put forward a series of essentially killer amendments that would have changed the outcome to such a degree that it simply couldn't have been arranged in Bonn.
And a number of countries, in addition to the United States, made direct approaches to President Rabbani, called him on the telephone, sent their ambassadors in, otherwise made demarches urging the importance of coming to a conclusion in Bonn that was self-implementing, that wouldn't require yet another meeting like Bonn in order to do it, and in particular, in completing the process of naming an interim administration.
And I think the intervention of countries like Germany, who -- Fischer called; the United States, we called him; Iran; Russia -- was decisive in that -- was an important factor. I think he was also getting calls from faction leaders within the Northern Alliance saying the same thing.
QUESTION: But what was (inaudible) specific to Iran?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Well, I've just named two points. How many more do you want?
QUESTION: Well, but that's --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I mean, they weighed in with Rabbani, and they weighed in at the end.
QUESTION: But those things -- well, those are things in which they joined others in doing. Was there anything they did by themselves that you are aware of that --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The whole point of the exercise was that everybody join ultimately in bringing about the same result.
QUESTION: So in other words, their being -- part of what you mean when they say they played a very constructive role was that they joined in with the rest, instead of staying on the outside, and helped to push?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Yes.
QUESTION: How unhappy is Pakistan with the dominance of the Northern Alliance in the government? And I don't mean to be presumptuous, but why aren't you there already in Kabul? We seem to be the last folks in.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Well, I've been -- I was in Afghanistan a week and a half ago. The Pakistanis are less unhappy than they were a couple of weeks ago, I think. I think they recognize that this is progress, that there was a call, which they very much wanted, for an international security force for Kabul. There is a broadly-based government with a southern Pashtun leader which will be taking office in about 12 days.
And we are working to put our mission in a state at which people can stay overnight, rather than just drop in for the day. And when we do, we will staff a diplomatic facility in Kabul, and I expect that to be open and operating before the 22nd, when this new government takes office.
QUESTION: This is kind of a technical question, but who is going -- who is now the recognized head of state in Afghanistan? And as a related question, what becomes of Rabbani at this point?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: We have not recognized the government that President Rabbani heads.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: So the question would be "recognized by whom." If it is recognized by the United Nations, or by other countries, like Russia, Turkey, the UK, et cetera, it would be President Rabbani at the moment. And that on the 22nd of this month, there will be the inauguration of a new interim administration, which will function as a government. We very much hope that President Rabbani will take part in that ceremony.
QUESTION: Well, (inaudible) is the head of state then at that point? Or will you recognize him as the head of state?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The way the agreement reads, the interim administration, which is 30 people, will represent the Afghan state in all of its manifestations, and Karzai will be the senior person in that structure. But they stayed away specifically from titles like "head of state" or "prime minister" to emphasize the interim nature of this arrangement.
QUESTION: Could I ask -- Mr. Karzai, it seems unclear from some of the things he has said how he feels about the future of Mullah Omar. You said one of the subjects of the briefing is reconstruction assistance. Have you perhaps made it clear to him or to others in the new group of Afghans who will be running the country that US reconstruction assistance is in any way dependent on Mullah Omar being not allowed to live out his life in dignity and peace in Afghanistan?
0AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: It hasn't been necessary to do that. I understand that Karzai has issued a statement today which is pretty straightforward.
QUESTION: Your understanding is that he wants Mullah Omar to be a prisoner?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Brought to justice, right.
QUESTION: Just after you reached your agreement, parties to it began expressing reservations. And there are three or four possibly, but certainly one stands out and that is Dostum. What are you doing to try to bring him back on board? Did something go on in the negotiations where you might have given too much to the Tajiks because of Rabbani's antics? This is one claim. Or can you just explain why this falling out?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I wouldn't call it a falling out. What you've got is a coalition government. Anybody who has had experiences with, for instance, formation of a coalition government in Italy or Belgium or other countries know that all the parties that form the coalition don't end up equally happy. And some of them complain afterwards.
Nobody has walked away from this agreement or said they are walking away from this agreement. And, at this stage, we hope that they won't. We would expect that the countries who have traditionally maintained a relationship with Dostum, which recently include us but has included historically countries like Uzbekistan, Turkey, Iran and Russia, will also, as they did at the conference, make clear how important it is that this agreement be implemented. And we are reasonably optimistic that those kinds of approaches will be effective.
But that's not to say -- I mean, I told you how we had, in order to get an overall balance, to argue the Northern Alliance down. And there is no doubt that various elements within that coalition feel that they should have had more seats and are voicing their unhappiness.
QUESTION: He said he was boycotting the new government.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: He said a number of things and he said some things since he said that. I did not interpret that to mean that the Uzbeks whom he nominated for the government do not intend to participate. I anticipate that they will participate.
He did not seek a position in the government and therefore I'm not sure what the content of that statement is.
QUESTION: Dr. Haass, can you give us more details about the reconstruction efforts, details and numbers and figures and who is taking part, et cetera?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: The answer is I can't. Not because I know and can't tell you but simply it's premature. In order to do a serious estimate of reconstruction, you've got to obviously begin with a fairly detailed needs assessment. One is being conducted right now in basically a three-part UN development program, working with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. That's got to be put together and refined. You also have to obviously talk to the Afghans about it, as well as to the international community and the potential donors.
That has to all come together. We think we'll know enough. We will have at least a preliminary needs assessment done by the time of the convening of the meeting in Japan sometime in January. This, though, will continue to be refined as we go down the road. The result is that the numbers that you're seeing bandied about, so many billions of dollars over so many years, are just that. They're very soft numbers.
You've also got to factor in such things as absorption capacity. You are starting from an economy that has been ravaged, that did not have a particularly high base even before the last 20 years. Needless to say, the consequence of the last 20 years has been awful. There are questions then of sequencing. There are questions of priorities. And all of this has to be worked out.
Again, Afghans from inside, the Afghan Diaspora, the interim authority is going to have people who are going to be working with the international reconstruction effort. So we are just simply not down to that level of detail. What, though, I think you are seeing is something Ambassador Dobbins referred to and one of the reasons he's optimistic, is a tremendous outpouring in principle of support. So I really don't think we are going to be hamstrung here by a lack of resources or a lack of commitment. I actually do think the commitment will be there.
And I would also add, on our side and the contacts people in the Administration have had with the Congress, again, what we are hearing are very positive signals, that essentially Americans want to help and people from other countries want to help. So I really don't think that a lack of resources or a lack of staying power is going to in any way be an issue here.
QUESTION: As far as Afghan Radio is concerned, Mullah Omar may have already fled Kandahar and Mr. Karzai knew before he fled. And, number two, we have interviewed almost 1,000 Afghanis here in the United States. What they are asking is how much role Pakistan will play in the new government because, in the past, Afghanistan did not receive much aid which was sent through Pakistan. And now also they are not receiving much.
So they are blaming Pakistan for the problems in Afghanistan. So they are hoping no terrorism in Afghanistan from Taliban and no more problems from Pakistan in the future.
AMBASSADOR HAASS: I know nothing about your first question. On the question of Pakistan and the future of Afghanistan, as Ambassador Dobbins suggested, the Pakistanis have played an active and, I would argue, a constructive role in the various fora leading up to Bonn as well as in Bonn itself. Clearly though, in the future, this sort of cooperation is going to have to last. At the end of the day, you need cooperation. For Afghanistan to succeed, you need both insider cooperation, the Afghans themselves, as well as cooperation on the outside, above all the neighboring countries. And Pakistan is, for all sorts of reasons, one of the most prominent.
I would also imagine that Pakistan would play a role in the reconstruction effort. An awful lot of procurement is going to have to take place. You are going to need certain sorts of assistance from the neighboring countries. And I would say that Pakistan would participate in that and benefit from it.
I think one of the important things in the Bonn agreement is a specific reference to the effect that it's important that this new government of Afghanistan have positive, peaceful, constructive relations with its neighbors. And obviously Pakistan is one of them.
QUESTION: Are there any safeguards to ensure that the foreign elements, al-Qaida and others, those who are from outside, will not leave Afghanistan and go to other areas like Kashmir or Chechnya or Sinkiang or any of these places? What safeguards will be in place?
Secondly, on reconstruction, can you elaborate on what kind of Afghanistan are you thinking of? Are you thinking of a modern state, just like any other? Obviously, it will be a long time before that happens.
AMBASSADOR HAASS: On the first question, the biggest -- to use your word -- safeguard against al-Qaida terrorists or the Taliban leadership leaving Afghanistan is the coalition military effort. The purpose is not to allow these people to leave. It is to, one way or another, bring these people to justice. We have also been working with the Afghans themselves to cut off major routes. And the United States has been in contact with all the neighbors of Afghanistan to close off the borders. So we are making a concerted effort. To put it bluntly, we do not want the problem of al-Qaida exported anywhere else.
The focus has been on Afghanistan for obvious reasons. But the President has made it clear from day one that this is a global effort against terrorism. So in no way do we want to see this problem exported or shifted anywhere else.
We realize there are lots of al-Qaida cells elsewhere in the United States, working with others in the international community. We will deal with them. But clearly we do not in any way want to exacerbate the non-Afghan dimension of this problem. We want to take care of what we can inside Afghanistan.
In terms of the goals of reconstruction, it is too soon to be talking about exactly what level Afghanistan can be brought to. Or, to put it another way, what level the international community can help Afghans bring their own country to. No one here is looking for perfection. We are trying to be realistic. On the other hand, things are beginning from an awfully low baseline. And you've got to say the upside potential is enormous.
And to essentially, you know, bring five million refugees back home, to allow the internally displaced to go home, to allow the people to live relatively normal lives free of civil war, hopefully the climate will cooperate a little bit because the drought has been a contributing factor. If you have positive governance rather than the sort of governance you've had from the Taliban, obviously that's an added benefit. If you have billions of dollars of resources coming in from the international community, that's an added benefit. If talented Afghans who have been exiled out of choice and necessity come home, that is an added benefit. So I think when you add up, you know, the clear likelihood of changing conditions, human resources and capital resources, it suggests that Afghanistan, its next 20 years, have the potential to be markedly better than the last 20 years.
QUESTION: Since the Bonn agreement limited the multinational force to Kabul and its environs, what is to prevent a return to drug trafficking by the warlords?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Well, the Bonn agreement calls for a request in international security force in the first instance for Kabul, and defers the question about whether there should be a request for assistance beyond that to the interim administration. But it does it in a way which suggests this isn't quite an active possibility. I mean, the language doesn't exclude it; it simply doesn't make a judgment on it.
But I don't know that that answers your question. It just clarifies your premise.
AMBASSADOR HAASS: On the question of drug production, I would say, as I said, eradicating poppy production is one of the principal goals; indeed, I would suggest in some ways it is second only to eradicating terrorism. This is something that is important to Afghanistan, but also to the neighborhood and indeed to the entire world, given the large source of supply which has traditionally come out of that country.
This is going to be one of the cardinal priorities – if that is not a mixed metaphor -- one of the priorities of reconstruction. That means such things such as alternative economic development to give farmers a choice and a viable alternative to the production of poppy. It also is going to mean working with the interim authority on whatever sorts of policing or border controls are necessary to make sure that any poppy that might be produced cannot leave the country.
So this is going to be a priority, not just for the near term, but for the long term.
QUESTION: When are you going back to Kabul, and what kinds of conditions have to be met before the US mission opens in the capital?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I'll be going back next week. They are very simple. I mean, the explosive ordnance disposal team has to go in and make sure that there isn't unexpended ordnance in the area. We need to secure the perimeter; that is, you need to make sure people then don't come into it. And you need to assure that there's places -- there are few rooms that are habitable so that the staff can work and live there.
It's very simple stuff like that. So it's bringing in space heaters and water purification and generators, or making sure that the ones that are there are operating, in some cases; a few vehicles so that you can circulate. And it's those kind of basic things. There's no political conditions. We have made a decision to open a diplomatic office in Kabul as soon as we can.
QUESTION: Next week, at the beginning of the week, you're waiting for the Secretary to come back from his trip, or do you know --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Well, partially it depends on some of these other things, and I can't give you a simple answer, when all those things will be in place. But they will be in place by the 22nd, I hope.
QUESTION: A question for Ambassador Haass. Yesterday, you said that you expected other countries to bear the bulk of the cost of reconstruction. I think this might have come as rather a surprise to some of these other countries, who apparently assumed that this was really your baby, and you should look after it. What are you going to tell them when you explain to them that you don't want to pay?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: First, we have never said we don't want to pay. We expect to be generous; we expect to be active contributors in this effort.
Second of all, you must be talking to other governments than I have had the opportunity to speak with, because I have not heard from anyone those sorts of concerns. We have made clear that we are taking a leadership position in the reconstruction effort. Again, we are one of the co-chairs of the steering group; we convened the first meeting here in the Department of State.
Until the overall scale of the effort is clear, it is hard to say exactly what the United States is going to do, but I would simply remind you, the United States has been the largest provider of humanitarian help to Afghanistan. This was the case before September 11th; it's the case after September 11th. What we look forward to is transitioning.
The goal in some way is to be able to reduce humanitarian aid, not because in any way we're stingy and ungenerous, but we hope that the humanitarian needs begin to go down. And as they subside, it will allow the United States and the rest of the international community to essentially transition along this continuum, from humanitarian help to relief to recovery and to long-term reconstruction.
And just as the United States has played a leading role in the humanitarian phase, I would expect we will play a leading role in the other phases of the recovery and reconstruction effort. But, again, traditionally in any sort of international enterprise, the United States provides a degree or a portion of the help. And given that we have taken such an enormous role in the coalition effort up till now, it seems to me only right and reasonable that other countries, that for whatever set of reasons, weren't able to take a large role there, would take a large role.
So I would expect the European Union and the Saudis and others in the Arab and Islamic world, clearly the Japanese, are all prepared to more than do their share. Just as we will.
QUESTION: Thank you. My question might have been answered already, but I will ask the question anyway. If --
AMBASSADOR HAASS: An auspicious beginning. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: If the new government in Afghanistan grants freedom to Mohammad Omar, what can the United States do about it?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: Well, again, it is based upon a hypothetical, and that simply is not going to take place. Mullah Omar has committed all sorts of crimes against the Afghan people. The Afghan people above all are well aware of that. And we have talked about it with them, with the Afghan leadership, and it is clear to me that he will be brought to justice. And I believe, I am confident, in a way that's acceptable both to the United States, and to the Afghans themselves.
QUESTION: Associated Press of Pakistan. Mr. Haass, I was a bit late, so I'm not sure you have already covered this. But in case you haven't, how soon do you expect a peacekeeping force to be assembled and deployed in Afghanistan?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: Well, again, at the outset, I basically said we didn't have anything much more to say about security arrangements than I was able to speak about yesterday, only because these issues are very much under debate within the -- not debate -- but under consideration within the US Government. But as you know, the plan is to get the interim authority, the interim administration up by December 22nd, and I would think that an international security force will be in place by that time.
QUESTION: Ambassador Dobbins, you mentioned that before the US puts its mission back in Kabul, that there is going to be a team that goes in to make sure there's no unexploded ordnance in the area. As far as the plans, the reconstruction plans -- maybe both of you can answer this, or either one -- what is the plan for clearing Afghanistan not only of the unexploded ordnance from our campaign, but also the land mines that have been there for so long? I mean, I understand it is an extremely expensive process, but it is obviously extremely important if we are going to reconstruct that country.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Actually, even before this, the latest conflict, there was a fairly substantial demining effort under way in Afghanistan to try to clear up the mines from previous conflicts. And once the security situation permits, that will be resumed and significantly expanded, I would expect.
QUESTION: In the past few days, we haven't heard much about the Russian contingent already in Afghanistan for various purposes. Would you be able to say what they are doing and whether this contingent would become part of the international peacekeeping or security force when it comes into being?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The Russians have informed us, and I think we have no reason to doubt the accuracy of what they have said, that they have deployed an element of what we would call our civil emergency, or FEMA office, which in their system is a military function, to Afghanistan to provide for emergency reconstruction. And that that is the unit that was deployed, and the equipment is associated with that unit.
I don't think that the Russians, or any of Afghanistan's neighbors, anticipate participating in peacekeeping. Certainly none of them have volunteered, and I think most of them anticipate that the volunteers would come from elsewhere.
MR. REEKER: This will have to be the last one.
QUESTION: If you achieve your military goals as you define them, and then Afghanistan still breaks down into factional fighting, how strong an obligation do you think the United States would have to go back in to try to force them back? I mean, what would you consider your obligation then?
AMBASSADOR HAASS: It's premised on a hypothetical, which we simply don't think is the most likely outcome, as Ambassador Dobbins said. I think there has been some learning of lessons. And I would simply challenge the premise that Afghanistan is going to break down, to use your word, into that kind of warlordism, or that kind of dysfunctionality. I think there is a very good chance that it won't.
But again, our principal concerns here with the coalition are the prosecution of the war. We want to do everything possible to give Afghans a chance to essentially get their society and their economy up and running, and this will ultimately be a challenge principally for the Afghans themselves, for the interim authority, and after the emergency loya jirga, for the transitional administration, and ultimately for the resulting government. That Afghans themselves are going to have the principal responsibility for making their society viable, for making their political system work, for making their economy productive.
MR. REEKER: Thank you very much.
AMBASSADOR HAASS: Thank you.
Released on December 7, 2001