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|Straw: We Will Be Generous in Victory
- Allies have no quarrel with Afghan people, says Foreign Secretary - Major infrastructure investment promised if Taliban are sent packing
BRITISH Foreign Secretary Jack Straw today held up a carrot to go with the stick being brandished over the heads of the Afghan people.
So far, speeches from Western leaders have grown increasingly bellicose in their attitude to the Taliban regime that rules Afghanistan, but Straw was keen to make the distinction between the rulers and the ruled.
"We have no quarrel with the people of Afghanistan. We want to work with all responsible Afghans to bring peace to the country and to help it on the path of stable development. Afghanistan's friends will be generous in their help," Straw said, promising investment in schools, hospitals and roads.
Straw's speech was broadcast to Afghanistan by BBC World Service, one of the very few foreign news sources available in the battle-scarred country. It comes at a time when some analysts believe the US and Britain will hold off large scale air-strikes to give the Taliban's internal opponents a chance to topple the Taliban.
Much coverage has already been given to the Northern Alliance, but some reports suggest sections of the Taliban's own forces, most notably those gathered in the south of the country, are ready to switch sides. "The Taliban is collapsing from within," said veteran Mujahadeen commander Abdul Haq, who urged the Western Allies not to offload bombs on his country, lest such action should shore up patriotic sentiment for the Taliban.