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The Next Stage In Afghanistan's Future

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is the first UN leader to visit Kabul in the past 40 years. He carried with him a list of the special commission organizing the first tribal grand council in Afghanistan since 1964.

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"We share a common objective"

The United Nations has drawn up a list of 21 people to organize the Loya Jirga, or tribal grand council, that will decide Afghanistan's next government. It will rule Afghanistan for 18 months when the interim administration's six-month term expires.

Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai announced the names on Friday in the presence of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the first UN leader to visit Kabul in the past 40 years. Karzai stressed that the list of names was compiled by the United Nations without any meddling by Afghans.

Karzai, who took office on December 22, said he knew only four of the names. "This shows this is a really nice commission, a real impartial commission and I hope that they, together with the United Nations, will be successful in their work and give Afghanistan a good, representative, fair Loya Jirga," he said.

Annan said the UN had started with a list of 300 nominations for the commission. He appealed to Afghans to support the committtee in their work. "They need your help, they need your understanding," he said. "I know that not everyone will be entirely happy with the list. But it is a good list and let's support them and work with them."

The Secretary General continued on to Iran, where Afghanistan will be a major topic of discussion. "The Iranian government has been very generous to Afghan refugees over the years," Annan said.

Asked about Tehran’s role in the future of Afghanistan, Annan emphasized that all of the country’s neighbors, as well as the international community must support the interim Afghan authorities and the new Afghan government once it is fully established.

"We share a common objective and that objective is to see a stable, peaceful Afghanistan," Annan said.

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