What Middle East newspapers are saying about future prospects for Afghanistan this week.
Arab News (Saudi Arabia) -- Now the doubts about the bombing have been replaced by a widespread belief that there will be no lasting peace in Afghanistan. But the reason that this belief is almost certainly wrong is money. The factional fighting that broke out (last week) between the Pashtun groups that took over Kandahar from Mullah Omar's troops was not a sign of trouble to come. Rather, it is indicative of a general jockeying to be in the right position when promised inflows of international capital and aid arrive. It will be the creation of a prosperous new beginning that will make peace stick.
Dawn (Pakistan) -- The Taliban's fate holds lessons for Pakistan. Interference in that country's internal affairs has cost Pakistan dearly. By patronizing one section of Afghanistan's population, Islamabad earned the ire of the other ethnic and political groups. Worse, by arming the Taliban and letting them open and run recruiting and training centres in Pakistan, Islamabad helped create Frankenstein's monster.
Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) -- The unprecedented popular support for president Bush has boosted his overconfidence. He feels invincible, as if he has carte blanche to undertake any adventure. (But) no government wants to renew the deadly confrontation with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people. The severest critic of the Bush administration in this respect is Scott Ritter, the former chief UN weapons inspector, who says, "Ideologues who now have a vehicle to pursue their personal agenda are hijacking the national security of the United States."
Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) -- The signatories to the Bonn accord must look beyond immediate military objectives and get down to nation building without further ado. The possibility of mass starvation has been averted. That said, however, Afghanistan's in a shambles. Nation building has to start from scratch. Large areas must be cleared of land mines and unexploded bombs. The next stage involves laying new roads and townships, restoring electricity and water supplies, equipping hospitals and schools and establishing a telecommunications network. The end of the Taliban is just the beginning of a new chapter in Afghanistan's history.