As the bombs continue to fly over the Taliban-controlled South, international politicians are busy preparing for the next stage of the war against terror: peace in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of refugees are returning to Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul
The international coalition against terror has begun to realize that securing a lasting peace in Afghanistan requires more than relentless bombing and the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Since the UN Security Council came out last week with a blueprint for installing a post-Taliban government, efforts have turned towards the diplomatic and humanitarian front.
The power vacuum created by the retreating Taliban has left hundreds of thousands of Afghans in desperate need of international aid. Major humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have sent their officials back to Kabul. They will be responsible for organizing the largest humanitarian relief efforts since the Balkan war in the 1990s.
The British and French government have authorized their soldiers to assist with securing the UN relief efforts. Some thousand British troops arrived at Bagram airbase north of Kabul on Friday to pave the way for the humanitarian efforts.
"Our troops are there conducting a reconnaissance mission which is to pave the way for securing it (Bagram) in terms of making it safe for the UN and other diplomatic and humanitarian missions," a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday.
According to a report in the "Washington Post," UN diplomats are working on a strategy for the deployment of international peace keeping troops in Afghanistan. The international troops under the direction of Turkey will be responsible for ensuring a safe and orderly transition from the Taliban regime to a multi-ethnic government.
The first UN troops could be sent as early as the middle of next week, the US newspaper stated. So far the US and NATO have declined commenting on their participation in the international peace keeping operation.