- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2002

Afghan force sought
NEW YORK With sporadic fighting and lawlessness plaguing Afghanistan, the United Nations is hoping Washington finally will back the expansion of the international force in Kabul. It also is promoting the establishment of a national army and police force as the long-term answer to bringing security to the country.
Lack of security hampers efforts to rebuild the country and provide Afghanistan's 26 million people with a peace dividend after two decades of war. The world body's top envoy in Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the U.N. Security Council last week that the new government headed by Hamid Karzai doesn't have the means or power to deal with the underlying problems that cause security threats.
Mr. Brahimi, a respected former Algerian foreign minister, said Afghanistan will have no long-term security until a well-trained, well-equipped and regularly paid police force and national army are in place.
But for immediate security, Mr. Karzai, Mr. Brahimi and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan have called for expansion of the 5,000-strong International Security Assistance Force, now confined to Kabul. Mr. Brahimi told Reuters that the United States was rethinking its opposition to this.

Ambassador punished
NEW YORK The U.N. ambassador of Mauritius, Jagdish Koonjul, was recalled by his government because he did not openly back Washington's position on Iraq in the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said.
The Mauritian foreign minister, Anil Gayan, was quoted as telling reporters that Mr. Koonjul had not followed instructions and "gave the impression that Mauritius was against the U.S.-drafted resolution on Iraq," the Pan African News Agency reported.
Mr. Koonjul, a favorite of journalists and many diplomats, left for Port Louis, the Mauritian capital, on Friday, diplomats said. He had not opposed the draft U.S. resolution openly, but he did not endorse it publicly either.
Mauritius began its two-year term on the 15-member council in January 2001 after a successful U.S. campaign against the candidacy of Sudan. President Bush is planning a visit there in January.

Congo mines reformed
KINSHASA, Congo President Joseph Kabila has sacked top managers from Congo's state diamond mining company, Miba, in preparation for the country's long-awaited return to peace, officials said yesterday.
Miba head Jean-Charles Okoto and a half-dozen other members of the board were dismissed at the end of last week in an announcement broadcast on state television. The move comes as the Democratic Republic of Congo negotiates peace after a four-year regional war that has devastated the country and left 2 million dead.
Information Minister Kikaya Bin Karubi said Miba would return to being 80 percent state-owned and 20 percent owned by SGB-Sibeka, a partner firm from Congo's former colonial ruler, Belgium. Miba has been fully state-run for the past five years.
He added that the presidential decree had nothing to do with a U.N. report accusing top government officials of plundering Congo's mineral wealth during the war against Uganda, Rwanda and their allied rebel armies.

Female incompetence?
Rizwan Khan, spokeswoman at Pakistan's U.N. Mission since September 2000 and the first woman sent overseas by her country as a press attache, says she and the country's only other female overseas press officer Naila Maqsood in Hong Kong have been ordered home suddenly by the Ministry of Information.
"I have not been given any reason for my recall except a fax saying that it was a directive from the chief executive's office asking me to return immediately," she told the Associated Press last week. She called the orders a setback for Pakistani women.
Pakistan's Information Ministry said the two women and a male press officer in Germany were being recalled because of "poor performance," and that claims the women lost their postings because of discrimination were unfounded.
Correspondent Betsy Pisik is on assignment. Her column will resume when she returns.

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