The United Nations is playing down hopes that talks with Afghan political factions on the future of their country will lead to a comprehensive power-sharing deal in the immediate future.
U-N Afghan specialist Frencesc Vendrell said a full power-sharing agreement may not be reached by week's end, as anticipated Tuesday. He said the four Afghan delegations attending the Bonn talks can not be expected to immediately reconcile differences that have accumulated over more than two decades.
All four Afghan political groups agreed Tuesday to a U-N timetable for setting up a broad-based transitional government.
But by mid-afternoon today, delegations were still debating a U-N proposal for a multi-national peacekeeping force for Afghanistan, and what -- if any -- role former Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah might play in a coalition government.
Negotiators also said they planned to set up a short-term administration within weeks. That administration, in turn, would convene a meeting of Afghan tribal chiefs (-- or Loya Jirga --) early next year to approve a full transitional goverment.
Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, representatives of former King Zahir Shah, exiled Pashtun tribal chiefs and exiled Afghan intellectual groups are attending the U-N sponsored talks in Germany. The Taleban faction was not invited.