A sampling from Tuesday's foreign newspapers about the Northern Alliance's takeover of Kabul. Rating: NNNNN
Iran News (Tehran) -- How superficial Taliban support in Afghanistan really was has been proven by the domino-effect collapse of the last week. The Taliban's spiritual leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, repeated the same fatal mistake that his Pashtun brothers made during the Soviet invasion... favouring Muslim hardliners from Pakistan, Kashmir, the Arab world and even China in his camp instead of Afghan nationals. Undoubtedly, Omar's and the Taliban's most disgraceful act was the assassination of Afghanistan's greatest hero during the Soviet aggression, Ahmad Shah Masood. It remains to be seen whether the Northern Alliance, now that they're in Kabul, will think again about sharing power.
Gulf News (Dubai) -- The Taliban never had a chance fighting a conventional conflict while their positions were subjected to day after day of withering U.S. air strikes. But the rugged and inhospitable Afghan terrain is perfect for small groups of guerrilla fighters to mount lightening strikes and then melt away -- as the mujahedeen showed when they drove out the Soviets. Their allies in Pakistan say the Taliban are retreating, regrouping and changing tactics.
Arab News (Saudi Arabia) -- Are the Northern Alliance up to their old tricks again? With the world focused on their advance in Kabul disturbing reports of looting, kidnapping and summary executions have emerged from the northern Afghan town of Mazar-e-Sharif. If true, they would appear to justify the world's warnings of the consequences to Afghanistan as a whole if they overrun Kabul before an alternative regime to the Taliban has been formed.
Dawn (Pakistan) -- A quick American victory will result in an equally rapid loss of interest on the part of Washington in the affairs of Central and South Asia. In the case of an unending conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan will pay a heavy price in terms of its economic, social and political development. It is hard to predict how the people of Pakistan, not only the fundamentalist Islamists, will respond if the war drags on for months. Pakistan will not be able to attract investments, and the economy will continue to stagnate.
The Guardian (London) -- Six countries share a border with landlocked Afghanistan. Every one of them has the gravest cause for concern. Even Iran will not be happy with the Northern Alliance regime, which promises little hope of stability -- and scant chance of an end to the colossal refugee problem across Afghanistan's long western frontier.