Qanooni claims Pak initially opposed ousting of Taliban

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Afghanistan’s former vice president Mohammad Younus Qanooni has revealed some untold stories of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan which was convened by the UN in late 2001, saying Pakistan was initially opposed to the collapse of the Taliban regime, although it finally conceded but with conditions.

Speaking at an Afghanistan Law and Political Studies Organization gathering in Kabul on Thursday, Qanooni said: “CIA’s site office in Islamabad was coordinating with (Pakistan’s) ISI; this office recommended to the US that any alternative to the Taliban must be a Pashtun-oriented alternative and that the United Front shouldn’t be an alternative to the Taliban at any cost,” said Qanooni.

On the nomination of Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan’s president post-Taliban, Qanooni said the US and the international community had already decided on Karzai as new president even before holding the Bonn Conference.

“They obtained the agreement of the European Union, six plus two countries also agreed including those countries which were supporting the resistance front; all of them had consensus on the alternative to the Taliban and the coming of Mr. Karzai including Iran, India, Russia, Pakistan and the European Union in total,” added Qanooni.

According to Qanooni, Pakistan first strongly reacted to the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but later gave in and set four conditions.

He said Pakistan was afraid its stance would threaten its relations with the US and would push the country towards isolation.

“Pakistanis had said that the coming of the United Front in Kabul is like the coming of India to Kabul and we will not tolerate the United Front, secondly the coming of the United Front to Kabul should be prevented robustly, thirdly, in the south, a new front must be created as an alternative to the Taliban,” he said.

“The expectations we had, the commitments and the guarantee we had, most of them have not been completed,” said Amina Afzali, who attended the Bonn Conference.

Former vice president Mohammad Younus Qanooni believes that the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan opened a new chapter in Afghanistan’s history. He also accused Pakistan of using its influence to try to disrupt the Bonn Conference.

If the Bonn Conference failed, Afghanistan would once again move towards civil war, he said.

After the Taliban government was toppled in Afghanistan, in December 2001, the German city of Bonn hosted a conference of Afghan leaders at Hotel Petersberg, to choose the leader of an Afghan Interim Authority – widely known as the Bonn Conference.