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U.N. envoy 'considering' Taliban meeting

Brahimi met with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar on Monday
Brahimi met with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar on Monday  

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- The United Nations' special envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi is considering a proposal from the Taliban's ambassador in Pakistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, a U.N. spokesman said Tuesday.

The Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef had requested a meeting with Brahimi but it was not known whether a meeting would be scheduled, U.N. spokesman Eric Falt told Reuters news service.

The Taliban had previously boycotted U.N. peacekeeping efforts since the U.N. imposed sanctions on Afghanistan's rulers for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden in January.

Brahimi met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday as part of the U.N.'s role in shaping a post-Taliban Afghanistan.

In an interview with CNN, Brahimi said that the September 11 attacks on the U.S. were a "wake-up call" for the world not to allow states like Afghanistan to decay to the brink of collapsing.

He said the sanctuary given to bin Laden by the Taliban demonstrated that decaying states could become havens for extremist movements.

"It's a wake-up call, and many people realize that even small countries far away like Afghanistan cannot be left to sink to the depths to which Afghanistan has sunk," Brahimi told CNN.

"If they do, there will be a lot of consequences for a lot of people."

'Very encouraged'

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Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister, met with Pakistani foreign ministry officials and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers on Monday.

It was his first visit since strikes began on Afghanistan on October 7.

Of his mission, Brahimi was quoted by Falt as saying, "If [a] way can be found to liberate and empower the people of Afghanistan, this is something the international community can eventually be proud of."

He said he was "very encouraged" by his discussions so far on Afghanistan, both in the region and before traveling there.

"These [regional] governments and other governments interested in Afghanistan -- and capable of influencing the situation in Afghanistan -- seem to understand that the time for compromise, the time for allowing the people of Afghanistan to work out some kind of arrangement for themselves is there, and we are very hopeful that they will cooperate with us to achieve that result," he told CNN.

More diplomacy

He is scheduled to also meet with the head of Pakistan's intelligence service -- an agency that has had traditionally strong ties with the Taliban.

From Pakistan, he is expected to have more diplomatic meetings in Iran before heading back to the U.N. headquarters in New York.

A broad-based post-Taliban government, with both minority and majority ethnical representation, has been widely touted as the best solution although it is not clear what this model would mean in practice.

It also needs the support of Afghanistan's neighbors and Brahimi is also expected to make diplomatic visits to Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.


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