Diplomatic moves are being made to unite various tribal forces opposed to the Taliban in an effort to topple the regime before any US ground action against Osama bin Laden is undertaken. US air strikes are expected to support efforts by Afghan forces to topple the Taliban.
The Northern Alliance is calling Afghan tribal groups to a Loya Jirga, a rare Afghan national assembly that is convened when important decisions are to be made. It is not expected that the Northern Alliance, which is only slightly less repressive than the Taliban, will form a new national government.
Instead, a somewhat more democratic system centering around the long-deposed king, Mohammed Zahir Shah. The king is planning to travel to the region next week. He is expected to function as a figurehead rather than actually engage in direct rule.
The purpose of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent trip to many key coalition countries was to promote the new government and explain how it would work. It is expected that the new government will even included some of the more moderate Taliban leaders, such as the foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil.
After the new government is established, Osama bin Laden will be placed under seige and compelled to either starve or surrender.
The entire operation, if it works, will be accomplished without any significant body of western troops setting foot on the soil of Afghanistan. If there is military action, it will be carried out by local leaders supplied by Britain, Russia and the US, and supported by airstrikes.
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