Building International Defenses Against Terrorism

November 13, 2001 // 11:00pm

Gareth Evans, opened with a brief description of the ICG's mission and how the organization was adapting to the post-September 11th international environment (e.g., opening regional offices in the Islamic world). Evans laid out an analytical framework to assess the current crisis and its implications for future policy. The first challenge is to punish the perpetrators through effective enforcement action that does not breed further extremism. A second task is to build cooperative defenses and act to eliminate the safe havens from which terrorists can operate. Third, policy-makers must address the political, economic and cultural "root causes" of extremist sentiments and pursue diplomacy (such as the revitalization of the Arab-Israel peace process and candid dialogue with autocratic allies to promote democratic rule). On Afghanistan, Evans emphasized the need to restrain the Northern Alliance from committing atrocities, to quickly deploy a UN peacekeeping force from Islamic countries when conditions permit, to take Pakistan's interests regarding power-sharing in Afghanistan into account, and to extend humanitarian aid in the context of a long-term plan for redevelopment of the country. During the discussion period, Evans, who played a key role in developing the UN peace plan for Cambodia, said that there were no obvious lessons from that experience that are applicable to Afghanistan because of the unique characteristics of each case.

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