Exiled Afghan King Key to Removal of Taliban

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Exiled Afghan King Key to Removal of Taliban

Here's what I think will happen in Afghanistan. The exiled king, now living in Italy, has called a loya jirga - a traditional grand council of Afghan leaders. The king, 86-year-old Muhammad Zahir Shah, will, I think, be elected head of a new Afghan government. That will give the United States and its allies the political cover to support the ouster of the Taliban regime, using the northern alliance fighters now opposing the Taliban.

This strategy has a number of plusses. First, the king once ruled Afghanistan and is still admired there. Second, he is a Moslem, though not the radical type like those now running the country. Third, the U.S. will not be made to look like an imperialist army, forcing Western Christianity on an unwilling people.

If President Bush can bring this off, he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. If he can shut down the terrorist operations against and possibly within this country, he deserves re-election.

Again, this is just a guess on how we are proceeding, but based on what I'm hearing, it's an informed guess.