Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Afghanistan

February 19, 1990

As members of the Committee for a Representative Government in Afghanistan, which consists of Afghans and Americans working for self-determination in Afghanistan, we want to thank President Nixon ("Seize the Moment, Avoid a New Vietnam," Op-Ed Page, Feb. 1) for helping raise Americans' consciousness about this critical situation.

Members of our committee spent three weeks in the region late last fall talking to a cross-section of concerned Afghans, including five of the seven leaders of the interim government, moujahedeen commanders, tribal leaders, intellectuals, refugee camp leaders, religious leaders and soldiers. We also met with our State Department representatives and the former King of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah.

As stated by Nixon, there is widespread support among Afghans for the former king, and there is great interest in beginning the process of forming a representative government. The traditional Afghan vehicle for such a process is called a loya jirga, or grand assembly. All Americans should urge our government to support this democratic process.

However, Nixon makes a critical error when he calls for increased military assistance. That the world situation has changed since the time of Vietnam is clear from the situation in Eastern Europe, where the Soviets have been willing to allow self-determination. What they are looking for (as are we) is a face-saving way of disengaging from the military conflict that now exists. That is why Najibullah again offered to step down as the head of the Soviet-backed Kabul regime if it would help bring peace to his country. Thus, there is no need, as recommended by Nixon, for us to "decapitate" that government.

Unfortunately, Nixon seems strongly biased toward military solutions, stating, for example, that "we should not use negotiations simply to sweep the Afghan issue under the rug." In fact, it is only negotiations that will resolve the conflict, and they will do so in a way that upholds our democratic values. This type of a sentiment, which does not rely on force, is in our long-term self-interest.

JOSEPH C. KRESSER JR.

Santa Monica

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|