Topic 3 – The Question of Afghanistan: briefing pack

Topic 3 – The Question of Afghanistan: in the light of the US invasion of Afghanistan, how should the UN support the country’s reconstruction?


The Invasion of Afghanistan began on October 7th 2001 following the September attacks and ended later on that year on the 17th of December. Following the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, where President George W. Bush suspected Osama bin Laden of residing and being hidden in Afghanistan, where he had already been sought since 1998, President Bush requested that Bin Laden be turned over to the Taliban, which de facto controlled the country. The Taliban refused to extradite him unless clear evidence of his presence in the world was given. They  also threatened to launch attacks in the region. Both of these were rejected as negotiating tactics by the United States and the US consequently initiated Operation Enduring Freedom with the United Kingdom on 7 October 2001. To justify the war, the Bush administration argued that only ‘selective democracy’ remained in Afghanistan, and that action was essential because the Taliban challenged other states’ sovereignty. Operation Enduring Freedom was joined by other powers, including the Northern Alliance – the Afghan resistance that had battled the Taliban in the ongoing civil war since 1996. By December 2001, the Taliban and their supporters were mostly vanquished in the country, and new provisional Afghan officials (mostly from the Northern Alliance) appointed Hamid Karzai to lead the Afghan Provisional at the Bonn Conference. Hamid Karzai was subsequently chosen by the authorities (mostly from the Northern Alliance) to lead the provisional government in Afghanistan.

US view towards the Taliban

The Taliban publicly condemned the attacks on the 11th of September. U.S. President George W. Bush issued an ultimatum to the Taliban to turn in Osama bin Laden, he stated “close indefinitely any terrorist training camps, hand over all extremists and their associates, and grant the United States full access to terrorist investigation training camps”. However, Osama Bin Laden was protected by the Pashtun Laws of Hospitality. These were especially hard for the US to get around as the hospitality laws were given to tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, over which the government had no authority.Hospitality laws. In the weeks ahead and at the start of the US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban sought proof of bin Laden’s guilt and eventually agreed to turn him in. The proposal was refused by US President George W. Bush, who issued statements declaring that ‘ we are not negotiating with terrorists. The group’s terms were widely interpreted as an admission of guilt for the attacks of 11 September. After the US occupation, the Taliban repeatedly called for due diligence inquiry and readiness to turn Osama over to a third country for a proper trial. At a meeting held in Islamabad on October 15, 2001, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, Afghanistan’s foreign minister, offered to remove Osama bin Laden under the custody of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be tried for the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Current Situation

After the US removed the Taliban from power we now have the issue of what to do with a war-torn country. Without a prevalent terrorist group in the country, what could be the next action that the UN should take to rectify the current state of Afghanistan? Or could the UN potentially leave all the reconstruction to the ‘perpetrators?’

Delegates should try to refrain from using any knowledge on what events occurred after this current event as this is a historical committee.  Discussions are not limited by what we know subsequently took place: this is an opportunity to re-write history …