U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan is urging the United Nations to consider a comprehensive strategy to settle Afghanistan's civil war, which has caused one of the world's most urgent humanitarian crises.
In a report Wednesday to both the Security Council and the General Assembly, the U-N head says he is convinced a political solution to the conflict is possible.
But he says such a solution must begin with allowing the Afghan people to freely choose their own government. He says elections or a traditional council of elders could help end what he calls the Taleban's crisis of legitimacy.
Mr. Annan says the Security Council may wish to consider a combination of incentives and sanctions to persuade the Taleban, its rebel opponents and Afghanistan's neighbors to enter into serious negotiations and move towards settlement.
The report also says Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis has reached alarming proportions following 22 years of civil war and the worst drought in living memory. The U-N head says the Taleban and other parties in Afghanistan have done little to assist their own people, citing a lack of adequate funds.
He also warns the situation promises to get worse as the drought rages on and the Taleban continues to refuse to meet with rebels.
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The fundamentalist-Islamic Taleban rulers control about 95 percent of Afghanistan, with United Front rebels holding small pockets scattered throughout the country. Only three countries - including neighboring Pakistan - have recognized the Taleban, which faces U-N sanctions for refusing to hand over accused terrorist mastermind Osama Bin-Laden.