The president of the U-N Security Council says the United Nations should begin discussing a U-N role in so-called "nation-building" efforts in Afghanistan, even before the end of military strikes in the country.
The Security Council president, Richard Ryan of Ireland, says the cue for U-N action comes from President Bush.
During a news conference late Thursday in Washington, Mr. Bush said the United Nations should take a leading role in what he described as "the stabilization of a future government" in Afghanistan. The president said the world needs an Afghanistan that is no longer a haven for terrorists, and no longer involved in narcotics trafficking.
Mr. Bush said nation-building can begin as soon as the current military operation in Afghanistan is complete, but the Security Council's Mr. Ryan says preparations should begin even sooner.
Mr. Ryan says members of the Security Council will meet Tuesday with the U-N coordinator for all activities in Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi (Algeria's former foreign minister).
Mr. Brahimi is currently focusing on relief efforts for the Afghan people, but he is also charged with developing plans to establish a new government for Afghanistan.
U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan says no one can impose a government in Afghanistan, but the United Nations can help, if the Afghan people agree to work together for a broad-based government.