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					                                                     Afghan Media Review

                                                              13 -1-2005


Headline: Karzai victory could kick Afghan's opium habit......................................................... 1
German defence ministry sees greater danger in Afghanistan: report......................................... 4
ALM1a Press selection list for Afghan newspapers .................................................................... 5
ALM4a Program summary of Afghan Kabul TV news in Dari .................................................. 8
By EMILIO MORENATTI ....................................................................................................... 10
By Irwin Arieff .......................................................................................................................... 18
Afghan Army Has Made Great Progress, Says U.S. Officer ..................................................... 20
Good news from Afghanistan, Part 8......................................................................................... 22
AR5 BBC Monitoring (Radio Afghanistan) .............................................................................. 48
ALM2a Program summary of Afghan Balkh TV news in Dari................................................. 50
ALM5a Program summary of Radio Afghanistan news in Dari ............................................... 51
AE2 Bloomberg ......................................................................................................................... 52
AE2 FBIS (Cheragh paper, Kabul)............................................................................................ 56
AR4 BBC Monitoring (Arman-e Melli paper, Kabul)............................................................... 58
AR7 Reuters............................................................................................................................... 59
AR9 paktribune.com (Pakistan)................................................................................................. 61
ALM6a Program summary of Afghan Kabul TV news in Dari ................................................ 63




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ACN3 Guardian (UK)
7 January 2005

Headline: Karzai victory could kick Afghan's opium habit

Snow drifted across the sawtooth peaks of Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt where three years
ago Osama bin Laden wriggled through an American dragnet as soldiers reached his secret
cave complex.

Today, the al-Qaeda leader is on the run and his Taliban allies have scattered. But further down
the wooded slopes a potent new threat to Afghanistan's future is quietly pushing to the surface.
Tens of thousands of tiny green poppies, sown in the winter soil last month, are growing fast.
The innocent-looking plants are the raw material for a drugs boom that experts say could turn
Afghanistan into a lawless narco-state.

Almost 90% of all heroins will come from Afghanistan this year, according to a United
Nations report. The $2,8-billion trade accounts for 40% of the country's economy, employs
10% of the population, and has fuelled the rise of drug lords who threaten to upend the fragile
democratic transition. The province of Nangarhar, along the Pakistani border, is the heroin
heartland. Here drug production is not limited to a criminal minority; it is a community
endeavour. Four out of five families are involved in opium and the province grew 23% of the
most recent national crop. The economics are simple, said Haji Silamer, a Pachir tribal leader:
"We grow a field of wheat and make $300. We grow opium, we earn $3 000."

Tackling the trade is a priority for the newly inaugurated president, Hamid Karzai. Last month
hundreds of tribal leaders gathered at his fortress-like palace to hear him make an impassioned
appeal. Opium cultivation was a "cancer", even worse than the Soviet occupation, he said.
"Please stop this disgrace and dishonour. I want respect and honour for my country."

Some are listening. Significant numbers of farmers in Nangarhar have spurned opium for
wheat in some districts, said the deputy governor, Muhammad Asif Qazi Zada. Diplomats in
Kabul have received reports of a similar drop in Hilmand, another top drugs province.

The claims can only be fully verified during April's harvest. But in three areas visited by the
Guardian, there was real evidence of change. In Pachir wa Agam, a few miles from the
Pakistani border, Shah Wazir stood on a plot that was carpeted with poppies last year. Now
there is wheat. "When we voted for Karzai we promised to stop the poppy in return for
irrigation and good roads," he said. "We are keeping our side of the bargain. Now he must keep
his."

Civic spirit is not the only factor in the change of heart in this remote district. Crop disease last
year turned some farmers from opium. Others have been scared by a concerted anti-opium
drive by the governor and provincial police chief. The area's Pashtuns are also hoping
international promises of help will finally come good.




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The United States recently donated 500 tonnes of wheat seed, but after a sevenyear drought
farmers say much more is needed. If new wells, roads and irrigation systems do not materialise
soon, they would resort to their "insurance policy", said Silamer.

"If the government doesn't keep its promises, we go back to poppy," he said. The drug dealers
are actually thought to favour a cut in production. This year's bumper crop sent prices plunging
and forced dealers to hoard their stocks. Now, thanks to the recent crackdown, prices have
leaped fourfold and are still rising.

British-led efforts to scuttle the opium trade have been helped by a pledge of $780-million
(£405-million) from the US. Mirwais Yasini, head of the Afghan government's anti-drugs
team, said a paramilitary antinarcotics force trained by SAS officers had destroyed 50 heroin
laboratories and confiscated 60 tonnes of the drug since January. US officials are also training
15 judges to hear cases in a drugs court that is due to start work within weeks.

Some in the west favour aerial spraying of opium crops with herbicide, as has happened in
anti-cocaine campaigns in Colombia. The idea makes Afghan officials and farmers livid.

Last month, Nangarhar residents said a mystery plane flew over at night, spraying their crops
with small gray pellets. Mr Karzai summoned the British and American ambassadors for an
explanation. Both denied any involvement.

"How can nobody know? No plane passes in this sky without coalition permission," said Mr
Silamer.

Farmers are an easy target, but smugglers further up the chain pose a thornier challenge, partly
because many have close links with the administration. "Some governors, police chiefs, even
cabinet ministers -- all of them are involved," said one diplomat in Kabul.

More embarrassing for Mr Karzai are persistent allegations that his Kandahar-based brother
Ahmed Wali Karzai -- who helped finance his recent election campaign -- is involved in the
trade.

The former interior minister Taj Mohammad Wardak is among the accusers. "There is no
direct proof but everyone knows," he told the Guardian. "If you ask the people in the bazaar,
four out of 10 will tell you that Karzai's brother is exporting drugs."

Mr Wardak was the running-mate of Yunus Qanooni, Mr Karzai's main rival in the October
election. Walid Karzai vehemently denies the allegations, and officials say they lack evidence.
"In the west people are very careful about defaming others. You have to have proof that is
advisable in the courts," said Mr Yasini.

The US military has strong links with regional governors, who help them to flush out the
Taliban, but some of whom are also involved in drugs running. In some cases, the US pays the
warlords' soldiers to provide security escorts -- soldiers who, villagers say, are involved in
extortion, gunrunning and smuggling.



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But there are warnings that tackling opium in Afghanistan may be even more difficult than the
intervention in Columbia. Here, opium is not just part of the economy; aside from international
aid and military spending, it is the economy.

Taxation, construction and the currency are all propped up -- "there is a product that keeps
people afloat," said Barnett Rubin of the New York-based Centre on International Cooperation,
who carried out a recent study of the trade. "It is one of the key reasons that Afghanistan is
more stable than Iraq."

 JoPIC assessment:




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German defence ministry sees greater danger in Afghanistan: report
(DPA)

8 January 2005



BERLIN - Berlin is worried that German forces in Afghanistan will be exposed to greater
danger this year as a result of the aim of the United States and Britain to move more
aggressively against drug warlords, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel reports.

In its latest issue, the magazine said that German intelligence had cautioned the military to
expect greater danger at the German bases in Kundus and Faisabad in north-eastern
Afghanistan if the drug warlords start to feel threatened.
The magazine said that before the Christmas holidays, Defence Minister Peter Struck had
already ordered a strengthening of security precautions at the German camps in bracing for
possible trouble.
Sometime in January he is to talk with parliamentary factions about “more robust” German
military operations in Afghanistan, including increasing troop strength from the current 2,250
soldiers and sending special forces to beef up security.
The German parliament’s mandate for the Bundeswehr’s participation in the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission expressly rules out use of the German troops in anti-
drugs operations.
However, the German forces indirectly support such efforts by providing US and British troops
with surveillance work, supplies and occasional shelter in German camps, the report said.



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AFGHAN LOCAL MEDIA


ALM1a Press selection list for Afghan newspapers

Newspapers published in Kabul

Hewad (state-run daily)

8 December

1. Editorial, entitled "A good example of commitment to national interest", calls on
government officials to give priority to national interest. It praises the initiative of the minister
of information and culture, Sayed Makhdum Rahin, for asking the High Attorney Office to
assess and audit work of the ministry over the last three years. (p1, 400 words in Pashto, NPP)

2. Article by Shah Wali, entitled "New cabinet and its historic and national duties", highlights
shortcomings and cases of corruption over the last three years and calls on the new cabinet to
serve the war-ravaged Afghan nation in an honest manner. (p2, 700 words in Pashto, NPP)

Eslah (independent daily)

8 December

1. Editorial, entitled "Will electricity problem be resolved in Kabul!?", criticizes officials of the
Ministry of Water and Power for not taking practical measures to provide Kabul citizens with
electricity over the last three years. The editorial questions promises made by the new minister
of water and power, Esmail Khan, whether he can provide Kabul inhabitants with electricity
within a period of 40 days. (p2, 250 words in Dari, PROCESSING)

2. Report, saying that clerics in Baghlan Province voiced support for the government to
eradicate poppy cultivation. (p1, 80 words in Pashto, NPP)

Arman-e Melli (independent daily)

8 December

1. Editorial, entitled "The elected government should be cautious!", questions the fulfilment of
promises made by the new government's senior officials. It calls on the new administration to
assess the threats and obstacles existed over the last years and make every effort possible to
tackle them. The new leadership must make its utmost to abide by and implement the law. (p2,
400 words in Dari, PROCESSING)

2. Article by Mohammadollah Koshani, entitled "Administrative reforms or restructuring the
administrative system", says that both the public and private sector are squandering funds
donated for the Afghanistan's post-conflict recovery. It says that the government has not drawn


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a strategic plan to carry out the reconstruction process in an effective manner. The article
advocates implementing administrative reform within the state departments so as to curb
corruption and embezzlement that will lead to effective implementation of the reconstruction
programmes. (p2, 2,000 words in Dari, NPP)

3. Article by Sayed Mostafa, entitled "We demand an efficient cabinet", says that the new
cabinet ministers are not appointed on the basis of professionalism and competence, but
foreign and national circles, political groups, jihadi leaders and warlords tried their best to
insert their preferred people in the new cabinet. The article calls on the new ministers to
relinquish their dual nationality and honestly serve the nation. The new cabinet ministers must
not dodge accountability for shortcomings, the article concludes. (p3, 900 words in Dari,
PROCESSING)

4. Report, quoting the UN spokesman in Afghanistan, Manoel de Almeida e Silva, as saying,
"The parliamentary elections will not be held fairly." (p1, 200 words in Dari, NPP)

5. Report from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), saying that drugs addiction
is on the rise in Afghanistan. (p4, 800 words in Dari, NPP)

Anis (state-run daily)

8 December

1. Editorial, entitled "Parliamentary elections and challenges", says that too many candidates
will undermine the fairness of the upcoming parliamentary elections. The editorial describes
maintenance of security during the elections as another challenge to meet in order to ensure
fairness and the smooth convention of the elections. It calls on the government and relevant
authorities to make every effort possible to hold the parliamentary elections in a democratic,
secure and smooth manner. (p1, 400 words in Dari, PROCESSING)

2. Article by Asadollah, entitled "Every cabinet member's actions will be judged by people",
calls on the new ministers to appoint officials on the basis of merit and professionalism and
eliminate the culture of nepotism within the state departments. (p2, 700 words in Dari, NPP)

3. Article by Hafizollah, entitled "What kind of reforms?", calls on the new ministers to do
their utmost to implement administrative reform within the state departments and make every
effort possible to address the current shortcomings and to score brownie points. (p2, 500 words
in Dari, NPP)

4. Article by Homayun, entitled "Water supply system in Kabul city", says that majority of
Kabul citizens do not have access to potable water, which precipitate to a variety of infectious
diseases. (p3, 1,000 words in Dari, NPP1)

Erada (independent daily)

8 January


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1. Editorial, entitled "Conditions should be prepared for free vote ahead of the parliamentary
elections", describes the presence of warlords as a serious threat to the upcoming parliamentary
elections. It says that people are concerned whether they can freely participate in the elections
and vote for their preferred candidates. (p1, 400 words in Pashto, PROCESSING)

2. Text of President Hamed Karzai's 'You and the Head of State' programme. (p2, 1,400 words
in Dari and Pashto, PROCESSING)

Newspapers published in Herat

Etefaq-e Eslam (officially-funded daily)

8 January

1. Editorial, entitled "Important projects strengthen economic infrastructure", comments on
Afghanistan's economic situation over the past two decades. It describes construction of the
Salma Hydroelectric Dam in Herat Province as a step towards building the country's
infrastructure. (p 1, 230 words in Dari, NPP)

2. Report, entitled "A glance at the activities of the commission responsible for collecting
weapons in western Afghan provinces", reviews the activities carried out by this commission.
(p 3, 350 words in Dari, NPP)

3. Report, entitled "Creation of the Antinarcotics Ministry - a pride for the Afghans",
interviews with a number of residents in Herat Province. They hail creation of this ministry and
hope for the eradication of poppy in Afghanistan. (p 3, 350 words in Dari, NPP) 4. Report,
entitled "Where does abduction end?", says that Herat security forces arrested four kidnappers
on Wednesday 5 January. (p 4, 200 words in Dari, NPP)


      JoPIC assessment:




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ALM4a Program summary of Afghan Kabul TV news in Dari


A. News Headlines

B. Home News

1. 0:00:26 Hamed Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, received a number
of representatives of Jowzjan, Balkh and Konduz provinces today. The representatives spoke
about their fear of influence by warlords on the parliamentary elections. (Video shows the
meeting)(PROCESSING)

2. 0:03:48 Hamed Karzai received representatives of people and jihadi commanders of
northern Parwan Province today. The meeting discussed implementation of reconstruction
projects in Parwan and the effective role of the people of that province during the jihad and
resistance. (Video shows the meeting)(PROCESSING)

3. 0:04:56 The provisional Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officially
started work today. (Video shows chairman of the provisional court and a number of officials
addressing a gathering)

4. 0:05:37 Water and Energy Minister Mohammad Esmail received representatives of Balkh
Province today. The meeting discussed problems of people in Balkh in the fields of electricity,
the government plans to address their problems. (No video)

5. 0:06:36 Public Health Minister Dr Mohammad Amin Fatemi received representatives of
Balkh Province today. Mr Fatemi told the representatives about construction of a new hospital
in their province. (Video shows the meeting)

6. 0:07:07 Mines and Industries Minister Eng Mir Mohammad Sediq received deputy
commander of the ISAF in Kabul today. The meeting discussed ISAF cooperation in
implementing development projects. (Video shows the meeting)

7. 0:07:38 Justice Minister Mohammad Sarwar Danish received the ISAF deputy commander
today. The meeting discussed ways of disarming people who are members of political parties
and have not so far surrendered their weapons. Remarks made by Mr Danish about issues
discussed during the meeting were aired on TV. (Video shows the meeting)

8. 0:10:19 A protocol of agricultural cooperation was signed between the Agriculture Ministry
and the FAO today. (Video shows the minister of agriculture and a representative of the FAO
signing and exchanging documents, shaking hands.)

9. 0:11:27 Agriculture Minister Obaidollah Ramin received a number of representatives of
Baghlan and Balkh provinces today. The representatives reiterated their commitment to fight
poppy cultivation in their provinces. (Video shows the meeting)



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10. 0:11:47 A seminar on improvement of the condition of pastures has been held at the
Agriculture Ministry. (No video)

11. 0:12:01 A workshop on improvement of administrative and technical systems at the
National Defence Ministry was held in Kabul today. (Video shows Afghan and US military
officials addressing participants of the workshop)

12. 0:12:58 A seminar on reforms in a military unit of the National Defence Ministry was held
in that ministry today. (Video shows a number of Afghan military officials addressing
participants of the seminar)

13. 0:13:31 A number of officers of the national army were praised for their effective role in
establishing reliable security during the presidential election and Hamed Karzai's inauguration.
(Video shows Afghan army officials addressing the officers, distributing certificates among
officers)

14. 0:14:12 Graduates of the geology faculty of Kabul University celebrated their graduation in
Kabul today. TV correspondent gave a report about the ceremony. (Video shows a number of
lecturers and students addressing ceremony)

15. 0:15:50 Sayd Jalaloddin Mawduri Cheshti, a member of the Afghan lawyer' union and a
religious personality, has recently died. (Video footage shows a still of the deceased man)

C. Announcements

- Kabul Power Department, saving power

- Public Health Ministry, polio campaign

End of the bulletin: 0:17

 JoPIC assessment:




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By EMILIO MORENATTI



      Under the watch of U.N. monitors, officials began rounding up 110 tanks, rocket-
launchers, missiles and artillery pieces from the Panjshir Valley, the redoubt of famed
commander Ahmad Shah Massood, who defended it against Soviet occupiers and the Taliban
and was a key player in the country's ruinous civil wars.

       Officials said it would take two weeks to bring the weapons out of the valley,
completing a nationwide program to round up heavy armaments and make a renewed outbreak
of large-scale hostilities impossible.

       ``We've been trying to get into the Panjshir for quite some time,'' Anil Nayer, a U.N.
official, told reporters as shells were removed from a well-maintained Soviet-built tank and
loaded onto a truck in the shadow of a steep mountain. ``The largest concentration of heavy
weapons in the country is here.''

       The weapons are to be moved to a containment site north of the capital, Kabul,
controlled by Afghanistan's new U.S.-trained national army.

      Collecting weapons and disbanding regional militias was a key element of the peace
plan worked out after U.S. and Afghan Northern Alliance forces, including the political heirs
of Massood, routed the former ruling Taliban three years ago.

      The disarmament program languished under the interim government of President Hamid
Karzai, whose Cabinet was dominated by former warlord and militia leaders.

        But it picked up steam ahead of a September presidential election which Karzai won
convincingly, and officials have predicted it will be complete in time for a parliamentary vote
in the spring.

       A program to demobilize militiamen and retrain them for civilian jobs such as mine-
clearing and teaching has so far processed about half of the estimated 40,000-60,000 fighters in
the country.




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AR4 FBIS - BBC World Service, London
10 January 2005
Headline: Northern Afghan Security Chief Calls for New Disarmament Program


[Announcer] The police of Balkh Province say that there are a large number of former
commanders in the province who retain hundreds of weapons and who have not handed over
their weapons under the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration [DDR] process. In
an interview for the BBC, the province's security commander urged the government to declare
these weapons illegal so that they do not become an obstacle hampering the parliamentary
elections and law enforcement. The coalition forces in Afghanistan say that, in addition to the
remnants of the Taliban, warlords are also an obstacle to the forthcoming parliamentary
elections. Hanan Habibzai has asked Gen Akram Khakrezwal, Balkh Province security
commander, how serious the warlords' problem will be during the parliamentary elections.

[Khakrezwal] Yes, it is true that our police have many security problems because of the
commanders. Parliamentary elections are ahead and thus we are facing many problems. [For
instance,] a commander who had 200 pieces of weapons, has handed over 20 of them and kept
the remaining 180, and these are being stored in his house. Similarly, there are many
commanders in districts and rural areas who pose a threat to security. They pose a threat to the
elections. They are a threat to operations against drug trafficking. Therefore, as long as these
arms are not collected and declared illegal, we will have a lot of security problems.

[Habibzai] What is your plan? Will you be mounting raids against these commanders to collect
the arms from them, or will you be asking the Ministry of the Interior to declare the weapons
illegal and give you instructions to arrest these commanders?

[Khakrezwal] We will ask the leaders and other authorities to declare these weapons illegal
because all of their [military] organizations have been disbanded. Regarding the commanders
who have weapons, we will collect the weapons from them whether they are in depots or
otherwise, because the arms retained by the commanders are illegal. All thefts in the province
are carried out with the help of these weapons. The government has to collect these weapons
from them, no matter whether it is done willingly or not, so that a feeling of reliable security
can be installed for the people.

[Habibzai] DDR [officials] say that they have disarmed a large number of commanders and
that there are no weapons at all in Balkh Province. However, you just said there were still
armed men in the province. Do you suggest that the DDR process has not been implemented
correctly or that the commanders have not handed in all of their arms?

[Khakrezwal] It is true that the commanders have not handed in their weapons. As I said
before, a commander who for example had 200 weapons has handed in 20 of them under the
DDR but has retained 180 weapons for himself. The weapons are kept in the houses of all
commanders. They -- the 20 men who have been disarmed previously -- still have their troops
who have been re-armed. So these weapons should be collected for the second time under a


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new DDR by the government.

[Announcer] This was Gen Akram Khakrezwal, Balkh Province security commander. He
answered questions put to him by Hanan Habibzai


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AR5 The Ottawa Sun
10 January 2005
Headline: Afghan Fortress Yields Weapons


A natural fortress, the Panjsher Valley held out against the Soviet army and the Taliban, but
yesterday it began to yield up its heavy weapons, a sign Afghanistan is turning its back on 25
years of war.

Disarming the numerous militia factions is crucial to stamping government control on the
rugged and unruly country to prevent a slide into renewed civil war.

"The heavy weapons cantonment in Afghanistan is going at a very rapid pace," said Amil Nair,
who is in charge of the UN disarmament program for the region. "We have so far cantoned as
much as 92% of Afghanistan's heavy weapons."

SUCCESSFUL REMOVAL

The UN program has gathered more heavy weapons than it expected.

So far more than 7,850 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and artillery pieces have been
collected, far in excess of the 4,000 pieces thought to have been in the country.

But the Panjsher, the last main bastion of Afghan resistance to both the 1980s Soviet
occupation and the harsh Taliban rule in the late 1990s, was the last area to hold on to its big
guns and potentially threaten President Hamid Karzai's rule.

Over the next two weeks the UN hopes to confiscate a further 70 tanks and armoured vehicles,
four Scud missiles and around 20 artillery pieces from the valley.

But still weapons remain. There are the hundreds of thousands of guns kept at home by
ordinary Afghans.

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ARN2 Daily Times (Pakistan)
10 January 2005
Headline: Osama Bin Laden could be in Afghanistan: US commander


Osama bin Laden may be sheltering in Afghanistan, while followers of the former ruling
Taliban — who once harboured the Al Qaeda leader — appear to be fragmenting, a US
commander said on Monday.

Col Gary Cheek, who controls US forces in eastern Afghanistan, said Bin Laden and other key
militant leaders could be in his area of responsibility, a swath of the country flanking the
rugged Pakistani border.

“Leaders like Hekmatyar, Haqqani, Bin Laden could possibly be in our region, but any
information we have on them would be very close-hold (closely guarded) for operational
reasons,” Cheek told The Associated Press.

Three years after the US military entered Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and try to kill or
capture Bin Laden, American officials say they do not know where the Al Qaeda supremo is.

Cheek said the number of foreign fighters facing his forces was not “significant,” and that most
operated near the rugged Pakistani border, the zone most widely touted as a hiding place for
bin Laden and his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahri. Forces loyal to Taliban commanders
such as Jalaluddin Haqqani, and to renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar — who has joined
the ousted militia in vowing to drive out foreign troops — pose a larger military threat.
However, Cheek said insurgent activity in the east had been “sporadic over the past six months
and does not appear tied to any specific strategy or agenda”.

“It would appear that the Taliban in particular may be fragmenting and that its central core of
leadership is unable to direct coordinated actions,” he said in an e-mailed response to an AP
reporter’s questions. “I would guess that there are a lot of things the Taliban and others want to
do, but their ability to do those things are limited.” He said most of the leaders he was tracking
are local commanders suspected of attacks and bombings.

A roadside bomb killed a US soldier on January 2 in eastern Kunar province, but Cheek
suggested criminal activity was a bigger problem in that region, where Hekmatyar loyalists are
believed to find sanctuary among sympathetic villagers.

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ARN3 Al Jazeera (www.aljazeerah.info)
9 January 2005
Headline: Afghanistan SC Judge Held Over Bombing of American Firm

Afghan intelligence officials have arrested a Supreme Court judge for links to the deadly car
bombing of a US security contractor which killed at least nine people last year, a court official
said yesterday. The arrest of the judge, identified as Naqibullah, comes a week after authorities
announced the arrest of two Al-Qaeda members in connection with the bombing of the US firm
Dyncorp which trains the Afghan police force and provides President Hamid Karzai’s personal
bodyguard.

At least nine people, including three Americans, were killed in the Aug. 29 car bomb attack.
Naqibullah, who goes by one name, was arrested after intelligence agents questioned the two
other suspects, Supreme Court spokesman Waheed Mujda told AFP. “The two other suspects
who were arrested earlier told security agencies that the judge had links with them,” Mujda
said.

He said explosives were found in Naqibullah’s house during a search operation by intelligence
agents. “The operation took place on the night of Jan. 3 and was directed by Afghan
intelligence,” said NATO peacekeeping force spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Ken MacKillop, adding
that international troops were not involved.

Naqibullah was serving as head of the Primary Court of Panjshir province, north of Kabul,
Mujda added. Mohammed Haider, a Tajik national, and another man were detained weeks
earlier for orchestrating the Dyncorp attack and a suicide bombing in Kabul’s Chicken Street
shopping area.

The attack on the US security contractor, the biggest in the Afghan capital last year, and the
suicide bombing in October shortly after the country’s first presidential election raised jitters.

Afghan intelligence officials confirmed they had pulled in two suspects linked to the Dyncorp
blast but released no further details. Naqibullah, a 65-year-old preliminary court judge, was
detained about two weeks ago after two men accused of organizing the bombing told
investigators they had lodged at the judge’s house in the Afghan capital, said Gen. Abdul
Fatah, a senior Afghan prosecutor.

“He is accused of two things. First, he let the terrorists stay in his house. Second, he was aware
of their activities but didn’t inform anyone,” Fatah told the Associated Press. Naqibullah was
the head of a preliminary court in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, Fatah said.

Fatah said an accomplice, Abdul Ahad, was arrested along with him. Both Ahad and
Naqibullah hail from the same district of Afghanistan’s Kapisa province, he said. The suicide
bomber and the two organizers “stayed in his (Naqibullah’s) house all the time, from the
beginning to the end of their mission,” spanning both attacks, Fatah said.




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Fatah said Attaullah was an Iraqi national and identified the suicide bomber as a Kashmiri
named Akbar. “First, they brought another guy, also a foreigner, but in the end he didn’t want
to do it. So they took him back to Peshawar and brought Akbar,” Fatah said. “All three
received their orders from Attaullah. He is an Iraqi who is outside the country. Without any
doubt he is a member of Al-Qaeda.”

Meanwhile, Berlin is worried that German forces in Afghanistan will be exposed to greater
danger this year as a result of the aim of the United States and Britain to move more
aggressively against drug warlords, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel reports.

In its latest issue, the magazine said that German intelligence had cautioned the military to
expect greater danger at the German bases in Kundus and Faizabad in northeastern Afghanistan
if the drug warlords start to feel threatened.

  JoPIC assessment:




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By Irwin Arieff




     UNITED NATIONS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Afghan government is tracking the country's
private militias with international help, and hopes to begin disarming them before
parliamentary elections, a U.N. official said on Monday.

      The project aims to fix the location of each irregular force and assess its size and type.
This involves determining whether it is a rogue militia, a community-based self-defense group
or a security force hired to guard reconstruction projects, said Jean Arnault, the U.N. special
representative for Afghanistan.

     "Some, although not all, are among the main sources of insecurity and human rights
abuses in certain parts of the country, and their activities are frequently linked to drug
cultivation and trade," he said.

     While an existing disarmament program is making progress, a large number of irregular
forces were excluded from that scheme, according to Arnault.

     When the mapping exercise is concluded, the government plans to rank the forces
according to their potential to disrupt the coming elections and begin disarming those posing
the greatest risk, Arnault told the U.N. Security Council.

      The parliamentary vote is due to take place by May 21.
      Afghans chose Hamid Karzai as their president in a historic Oct. 9 election that took place
in a relatively calm atmosphere and with few serious irregularities. But Afghan authorities and
U.N. officials fear the next round of voting could be in danger due to flagging international
interest.

     Karzai depends on about 27,000 U.S.-led troops and NATO-led peacekeepers to provide
security while the newly formed Afghan National Army and police force are built up.

    But many areas are under the control of warlords and other local strongmen and security
remains a major concern.




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     "In order to create a secure environment for parliamentary elections, the problem of
irregular militias has therefore to be tackled as a matter of priority by the new government with
the support of the international community," said Arnault.

JoPIC assessment:




Top




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Afghan Army Has Made Great Progress, Says U.S. Officer

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2005 – Progress made by the Afghan National Army over the past
year has "enabled Afghan institutions to build enduring local, regional and national security,
extended the reach of the national government and assisted in Afghanistan's transition to a
democratic nation," a U.S. Army spokesman said today at a Kabul news conference.

The Afghan army "is well trained, brave and relentless in its execution of missions," U.S.
Army Maj. Mark McCann pointed out.

Afghanistan's army, McCann pointed out, helped to set the stage for successful nationwide
voting conducted in October that elected Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan's president.

Today, the Afghan National Army has 21,000 soldiers, McCann noted, which includes about
17,800 trained troops and more than 3,400 still in training. About 4,000 Afghan soldiers are
deployed throughout the country performing security tasks, he said, "from combat operations
alongside coalition forces, to security operations" at the direction of Afghanistan's minister of
defense.

Over the past year, the ANA has helped to quell disagreements among Afghan warlords and
end fighting among rival militias, McCann said.

The ANA, McCann said, "is a true national army, representative of all of Afghanistan's major
ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, Turkmen" and others. This inclusiveness, the
major noted, "has been key" to the ANA's success.

The Afghan Army also continues to attract recruits, McCann said, noting that 11 new
recruiting centers are slated to open in the next few months.

And, last fall's rollout of ANA regional command centers at Kandahar, Heart, Mazar-e-Sharif
and Gardez, he said, "extended the reach of the national government throughout all four
regions of the country."

By this summer, he said, the Afghan minister of defense "will have grown the troop presence at
each regional command to a full 3,000-man brigade, plus the headquarters soldiers."




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The disarmament of Afghan militia forces "has been another, critical goal in establishing a safe
and secure Afghanistan," McCann said. The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
program, with Japan as the international community's lead nation, has "achieved more
successes these past few months," he said.

The DDR program has led to the disarmament of 31,800 former militia members, McCann
said, adding that more than 7,800 heavy weapons are now under government control.

The Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan is proud of its partnership with the Afghan
Ministry of Defense and other nations "in reconstructing the Afghan security and defense
sectors" as well as "its contributions to the global war on terrorism," McCann asserted.

"We have found our work with the Afghan people to be personally rewarding," he said. "In
many ways we have grown ourselves as we have helped the resilient people of Afghanistan
rebuild their country."

  JoPIC assessment:




Top




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Good news from Afghanistan, Part 8

Chrenkoff "Weblog"
01/10/2005
By Art Chrenkoff

Stephen Hayes from "The Weekly Standard", who has traveled to Afghanistan to witness the
inauguration of President Hamid Karzai, quotes from the speech by the country's first
democratically elected leader:

"Whatever we have achieved in Afghanistan--the peace, the election, the reconstruction, the
life that the Afghans are living today in peace, the children going to school, the businesses, the
fact that Afghanistan is again a respected member of the international community--is from the
help that the United States of America gave us. Without that help Afghanistan would be in the
hands of terrorists--destroyed, poverty-stricken, and without its children going to school or
getting an education. We are very, very grateful, to put it in the simple words that we know, to
the people of the United States of America for bringing us this day." Sounds familiar? It
shouldn't. As Hayes writes, "Sadly, most Americans never heard these words. Gratitude, it
seems, is not terribly newsworthy. Neither is democracy. The Washington Post played Karzai's
inauguration on page A-13, a placement that suggested it was relatively less important than
Eliot Spitzer's decision to run for governor of New York or the decision of the U.S.
government to import flu vaccine from Germany." As columnist Charles Krauthammer
commented on the mainstream media's reaction to the inauguration, "Miracle begets yawn."

Yet, ironically, one of the most comprehensive and most optimistic overviews of the
tremendous progress achieved in Afghanistan over the past three years comes, of all places,
from an official Chinese press agency Xinhua (just consider the surreal picture of Chinese
newsmen celebrating democratic election and defeat of "anti-US" Taliban). If you want to read
the "good news from Afghanistan" in one short, sharp piece, go Xinhua; if you are after more
detail about all the positive - and under-reported, yawn-inducing - developments in
Afghanistan over the past month, read on.

SOCIETY: As surprising as the apparent enthusiasm of the official Chinese media is this
upbeat assessment by a spokesman for the UNICEF. Bearing in mind that the United Nations
officials are not usually prone to hyperbole and optimism, the words make for interesting
reading:

"Looking back over nearly three years here in Afghanistan, I have been thinking of some of the
amazing changes I have witnessed for myself. As a spokesperson for UNICEF, I have the



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unrivalled luxury of dipping my nose into a whole range of activities, and reporting on them to
the outside world.

"I have given briefings on reductions of polio and measles amongst children, a fall in landmine
injuries, and massive increases in the number of children going to school. I still can't think of
that day in 2002 - when my Afghan colleagues and I watched the first girls walk back into their
schools - without my heart jumping.

"I have interviewed former child soldiers now learning to be carpenters; I have walked through
the foothills of the Hindu Kush to monitor distribution of school supplies; I have visited
projects where widows and other women have been able to earn an income in their own right
for the first time in a decade; and I have drafted statements applauding Government
commitments to key child rights legislation and international conventions, which in some cases
set examples for other countries.

"So much progress, so many steps forward have been taken. As another year comes to an end,
it seemed an appropriate moment to reflect on how rapidly life has changed for the better for so
many Afghan children. Given the history of Afghanistan, a history steeped in conflict and
chaos, those changes take on even greater significance." As they say, read the whole piece.

Meanwhile, in the political sphere, after weeks of careful, post-election deliberation, president
Hamid Karzai has announced the line-up of his new cabinet; the first in a democratic
Afghanistan - one which "pushes out warlords and installs technocrats capable of fighting
drugs and driving reform":

"Karzai picked out highly educated ministers likely to curry favour with western donors
anxious to see Afghanistan push forward with reform, and also cut the number of ministries to
27 from 30. 'Nine of the ministers have PhDs,' a governmental source told AFP, adding Karzai
had chosen an ethically-balanced cabinet.

"Karzai retained former warlord Ismael Khan who was ousted as governor of Herat in
September. He steps in as minister of energy in charge of rebuilding the country's fractured
power sector. Karzai also kept Abdullah Abdullah as foreign minister but dropped Ashraf
Ghani Ahmadzai as finance minister. Appointed in his place is Anwar Ul-Haq Ahady, who was
praised by the west for his work in setting up Afghanistan's central bank.

"The only female candidate in Afghanistan's first democratic presidential election, Masooda
Jalal, won a place at the head of the Ministry of Women's Affairs.




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"Another appointment likely to win plaudits from the west is Abdul Rahim Wardak, as the new
defence minister. The anti-Soviet fighter rose to prominence in the 1980s and later fled to the
United States. Wardak has been seen as a key figure behind a United Nations-backed program
which has so far disarmed almost 30,000 former militia fighters -- about half of those estimated
to remain in the war-torn country.

"Karzai kept Ali Ahmed Jalali as interior minister in another apparent boost for reformists who
are pushing for a stronger central government to restore law and order and curb the burgeoning
opium industry. A US citizen, Jalali will need to renounce his dual nationality to remain as
head of the Interior Ministry, where he was seen foreigners and Afghans alike as having a
reputation for efficiency...

"He also picked out engineer and former deputy minister of refugees Habibullah Qaderi as key
anti-narcotics minister. Qaderi, an ethnic Pashtun like Karzai, is tasked with cutting opium
production in Afghanistan, which now produces 87 percent of the world's supply." As the
report notes, "the Afghan constitution written early this year says cabinet members must have
higher education degrees -- ruling out many former mujahedin fighters -- and any with dual
nationality should be vetted by a parliament that has still to be elected." The first cabinet
meeting has been held in the last week on December: "[Karzai] told ministers to avoid party
politics and commit themselves to helping the war-torn country rebuild. He said the Cabinet
should direct its loyalty to the Afghan people, not to tribal and regional interests. Mr Karzai
said the ministers must focus on the economy, education and security. He emphasised that the
fight against drug-trafficking would be a measure of the success of his new government."

You can also see this profile of the new cabinet, which as the report notes, "has been generally
well received by most people in Afghanistan, as well as by international observers."

In addition to tackling economy, education and security, president Karzai is also serious about
fighting government corruption: "[Karzai] says he wants all his officials to disclose their
financial holdings. He has also issued strict guidelines about accepting expensive gifts and
expenses on overseas visits. Karzai is insisting that all officials in the executive, legislative and
judicial branches of government hand over full details of all their properties and business
dealings, along with those of their wives and children, within two weeks. In addition, he has
said that if ministers and their advisers on overseas trips received official gifts valued at more
than 200 US dollars they should register them with the president's office. The decree also lays
down the rules on ministerial visits overseas and even the gifts that should be presented to
officials of host countries." Half of the cabinet has filled out all the relevant forms already,
with the remainder expected shortly.




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
Meanwhile, the First Lady of Afghanistan is also planning to stay busy in future:

"Dr Zeenat Karzai, the wife of President Hamid Karzai... [said] that she plans to come more
into society, working for Afghan women. Dr Karzai, who has rarely been seen in public since
her husband became president of the interim government in 2001, was speaking after a meeting
for prominent Afghan women at her residence in the Presidential Palace in Kabul.

"When... [a] reporter suggested that all the people in society wanted to see her activity, she
responded: 'In the near future, I want to come in the society. The work I want to start should be
useful for Afghan women.' Asked about how she felt over bringing together the group of some
50 women, in such fields as politics, culture, health and media, she... [said] : 'I feel very happy.
I want that all the women should be united and promoted'." And still on the matters of state,
Afghanistan finally has its new national anthem:

"The Afghan poet and writer, Habibullah Rafi's words which include a verse written for the
national anthem from the former republican President Daud Khan's Era, has been selected as
the new Afghan National Anthem.

"The competition which was announced late summer by the interior ministry in Kabul called
for all Afghan poets and writers to submit their entries. Habibullah Rafi's, anthem which was
chosen from one-hundred entries, includes the first verse of the national anthem sung during
the Daud Khan's time between 1973 and 1979 when he ended the rule of the monarchy of the
former King Mohammad Zahir." As the report notes, "the anthem is also a required to include
all the names of the 12 Afghan tribes and the words of Allah-o-Akbar or God is Great... Rasaul
Zamarai, an official for the music production department at the ministry of culture and
information said the composition of the new national anthem will be a culmination of western
and eastern music."

In other areas of Afghan life, education system continues to grow: "Across Afghanistan,
schools are seeing record enrollments, with more than 4 million students in school, according
to UNICEF statistics. At least one-third of those students are girls. [But] the government has
estimated that roughly 2,000 schools must be built every year for the next five years if demand
is to be met." To help meet that demands, groups such as Solace International (also profiled in
the previous installment) are bringing in much needed assistance:

"Solace International... last year raised nearly $70,000 in Seattle. The money helped repair
facilities and build six new community schools in the rural, isolated northern provinces, where
a lengthy drought has increased poverty. Solace International organizers plan another auction




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in Seattle tonight to raise money to build six more schools and an Internet-equipped learning
center.

"While it's too soon to see the impact the new schools have had on literacy rates, there are
positive signs. For example, the six new schools have a total enrollment of about 1,200
students, two-thirds of whom are girls." Solace is also planning some more ambitious projects
"such as repairing the regional university in the northern city of Sheberghan... The university,
the only one in the region, was virtually destroyed by the Taliban, who shot out windows, left
the roof to rot and burned chairs and desks, which they deemed 'too Western'... University
students now gather in an adjacent building, learning lessons from a small set of outdated
primers... Repairing the facility will cost an estimated $20,000... but could more than pay for
itself by turning out highly educated graduates, some of whom could be tapped to help teach in
the new schools."

Meanwhile, Afghan textbooks are being rewritten with considerable foreign assistance:

"A team from Teachers College of Columbia University is writing schoolbooks for
Afghanistan as it emerges from years of turmoil and ideological repression. The project is an
unexpected consequence of the Iranian hostage crisis that began in 1979.

"One of the hostages held in the American Embassy in Tehran was Barry Rosen, then a young
Peace Corps worker, who used his forced detention to learn Persian. Years later, after the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rosen persuaded Teachers College in New York, where he headed
the press office, to resume its work of the 1970s in Afghanistan compiling school textbooks for
the Ministry of Education.

"One of the main languages of Afghanistan, Dari, is closely related to Persian, so Rosen, who
often dresses like an Afghan here, blends in easily. 'I felt we should return and pick up the
work,' he said during a recent conversation here in Kabul, the Afghan capital. 'Our motives are
our history here, and that education is the way to change lives'." As the report notes, "funded
by the UN Children's Fund, the Teachers College group is rewriting the curriculum and all
primary school textbooks, including language textbooks in four local languages, while
introducing a style of teaching new to Afghan teachers and students that encourages student
participation. The books will replace the outdated texts produced piecemeal in the turmoil of
Afghanistan's last quarter century of conflict by international aid groups and rotating
governments... 'This curriculum is free of ideology,' Abdul Nabi Wahidi, of the Ministry of
Education, said of the new books. 'We just have two ideas, peace and stability, and human
rights'."




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
And after years of isolation from the outside world, it's not just children who need to catch up
on education; in Jalalabad, some 250 government workers have recently completed a basic
computer literacy skills course.

In the area health, some innovative ways to provide better medical care are being tested:

"In one of his last duties before leaving the administration, Health and Human Services
Department Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the delivery of 2,000 interactive health
education books for women in Afghanistan.

"The 'talking books,' designed by LeapFrog Enterprises, use the same LeapPad learning
technology as the company's storybooks for children. Thompson announced the program in
August. It is aimed primarily at the 80% of Afghani women who cannot read or write, and the
books cover more than 19 subjects, including diet, childhood immunization, pregnancy,
breastfeeding, sanitation and water boiling, treating injuries and burns, and preventing disease.

"The books are available in both of Afghanistan's major languages, Dari and Pashto. They are
the first product that LeapFrog developed for adults, according to the company." Meanwhile,
Afghanistan's cash-strapped health sector is embarking on an experimental program to raise
funds: "For the first time, patients are being asked to pay for treatment at public hospitals in
Afghanistan. Although the constitution stipulates that all Afghans are entitled to free
healthcare, a pilot programme being tested in the northern province of Balkh could change all
that... The prices do not reflect the actual cost of the procedures but are simply a way for the
hospital to raise badly needed money. Those too poor to pay can appeal to a local
commission." Says Dr Mirwais Rabi, head of Balkh public hospital: "This is a very good
programme for Afghanistan people... These contributions will go a long way to help us buy
new equipment." "It is the best way of helping health centres stand on their own feet," agrees
Dr Saeed, of the Afghan health ministry.

Dr Sima Samar, head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission notes the
progress of human rights: there are still some "very serious violations" taking place and general
security remains a problem, but "the human rights situation in Afghanistan is better than in
previous years." She notes that "the main achievements is justification of the commission by
the people. We have offices in Kabul and some of the provinces. At least the people of
Afghanistan have seen AIHRC as somewhere to share their concerns and complaints. It is a
significant development. In this country, three years ago no one could even mention the phrase
'human rights'. In the beginning, there was some propaganda against the commission among
the public. Some elements who did not want public awareness on human rights spread
allegations that the commission was against Afghan culture, and was spreading western culture


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and so on. But now we have proved that we are here to defend the rights of our suffering
people and pursue the perpetrators of human rights violations."

Habibullah Qadiri, the chief adviser to the Afghan government on refugees and returnees,
summarized the state of affairs on in his area of responsibility:

"Almost three million people have returned to Afghanistan from Iran, Pakistan and
neighbouring countries. The returnees always bring skills with them from the countries they
lived in and that has contributed to the economic development and reconstruction of the
country.

"We can see many examples like we had in the past, carpentry by hand which has now been
mechanised by the skills the returnees brought. In most fields, the returnees have brought up-
to-date arts and trades. In some cases these people bring money to Afghanistan for investment.
Also, Afghans who were getting remittances from their families oversees used to spend money
in exile but now they spend it in Afghanistan." And as Afghan refugees continue pouring back
to their homeland, the numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) also continue to fall:
"Officials at [the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation] said that the number of IDPs
in Afghanistan fell sharply from 724,000 in December 2002 to 184,000 a year later." The
problem hasn't been completely solved; "in 2004, only 17,000 IDPs have been assisted to
return, leaving 167,000 people displaced in camps," but the improvement over the past three
years is still considerable.

In media news, a recent survey shows that Radio Free Afghanistan is one of the most popular
radio stations in Afghanistan:

"Nearly two thirds of Afghan radio listeners are tuning in to Radio Free Afghanistan, according
to the results of a new survey conducted for RFE/RL by the Broadcasting Board of Governors
(BBG).

"The survey showed a nationwide weekly listening rate of 61.6 percent to RFE/RL's Radio
Free Afghanistan broadcasts in Dari and Pashto, a rate that rises to 70 percent in the capital city
of Kabul...

"RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan and the Voice of America (VOA) broadcast on a 24-hour
single stream in Afghanistan. RFA provides local news and VOA supplies news about events
around the world. The U.S. Congress appropriated funding to create Radio Free Afghanistan in
December 2001, as part of an effort to build a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan following
the successful U.S.-lead strike against the Taliban.



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"When asked about the reliability of the news and information broadcast, strong majorities in
the survey considered RFA and VOA to be trustworthy. Asked about general issues, 54 percent
said they are favorable inclined toward the USA, 64 percent say things in Afghanistan are
headed in the right direction, and, when asked to name the first thing that comes to mind when
speaking of the USA, 40 percent said U.S. support for reconstruction of Afghanistan." As
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Thomas A. Dine says, "we are proud of what
Radio Free Afghanistan has achieved in the past three years. Our emphasis on helping the
entire country rise from the chaos of a quarter century of war is clearly appreciated by our
listeners."

Meanwhile, efforts continue to build independent and professional media in Afghanistan: "The
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is supporting plans to hold a national conference
aimed at promoting the protection of journalists and freedom of _expression. The IFEX
member led a meeting of the Committee to Establish the Afghanistan Independent Journalists
Association (AIJA). The committee passed several resolutions at the meeting, including plans
to hold a national conference in Kabul in April 2005 'with the aim of furthering the protection
of journalists in Afghanistan and campaigning for freedom of _expression'." And "for the first
time... the Reuters Foundation recently conducted photojournalism workshops in Afghanistan...
In Kabul, 15 students participated in the training from December 8 to 12. The group included
seven participants who traveled to the capital from various parts of the country."

In Afghanistan's cultural life, art stages a post-Taliban comeback:

"The newly repaired National Museum of Afghanistan has opened its first exhibition in 13
years, a display of life-size, pre-Islamic idols smashed by the Taliban three years ago and now
painstakingly restored by museum and international experts.

"The wooden statues from Nuristan, one of Afghanistan's mountainous northeastern provinces,
are an apt subject for an inaugural exhibition. Museum staff had worked hard to hide the
collection from looters and Islamic fundamentalists intent on destroying all idols and artistic
depictions of the human form. The figures, from what was formerly known as Kafiristan, or
Land of the Heathens, are ancestor effigies and animistic and polytheistic gods, representing
beliefs and traditions that were practiced there little more than 100 years ago.

" 'This is part of our culture and we should preserve it,' said Fauzia Hamraz, director of the
ethnographic collection, who helped piece the statues back together. 'Our country is an Islamic
country, but displaying these things will not destroy our religion'." As Hamraz says, this sort of
exhibition would have been unheard of just over three years ago. Meanwhile, "an international
mission has successfully secured and catalogued what remains of the site of the giant Buddhas


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of Bamiyan, blown up in 2001 by the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan... Teams from Japan and
Italy had made some progress over the last two years in collecting and cataloguing the
fragments of the destroyed statues and frescoes, as well as controlling visitor and other access
to the site, and in the training of Afghan personnel." While, as report notes, there is no official
word yet about the possible reconstruction of the famous statues, "Swiss scientists in 2003
developed three-dimensional computer models they said could function as blueprints for the
Buddhas' reconstruction."

Lastly, to demonstrate that you're never too poor or too troubled to show human spirit and
compassion for others, Afghanistan is sending a planeload of medicines and equipment and a
dozen "war-hardened" medics to help with the tsunami relief in India and Sri Lanka.

RECONSTRUCTION: Having submitted a bid, strongly supported by the United States, to
join the World Trade Organisation, Afghanistan has now been given an approval to open the
membership negotiations: "Afghanistan, which [is] struggling to emerge from conflict, now
faces several years of negotiations with other trading nations to adapt [its] laws and trade flows
to global trade rules before [it] can hope to join the WTO." Says Ambassador Assad Omer,
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan: "The peaceful completion of our first direct
presidential elections... has heralded a new era of political stability... We believe that
participation in the international trading system will lead to more trade, investment, technology
transfer, employment and income growth throughout the economy."

Back home, Afghanistan's booming economy is starting to attract workers from neighboring
Pakistan:

"Thousands of Pakistanis, mostly from the [North Western Border Province], are working in
Afghanistan and many more are exploring opportunities to find work in the country. Estimates
of Pakistanis working in Afghanistan vary from 30,000 to 50,000. The total could be even
higher considering the fact that many Pakistanis have also found work in remote provinces
such as Ghazni, Wardak, Helmand, etc where the Afghan government is apparently unable to
keep a record of foreign workers.

"President Hamid Karzai was quoted as saying early this year that more than 30,000 Pakistanis
are working in Afghanistan. Since then more Pakistanis have found work in Afghanistan,
mostly in the construction sector. Skilled Pakistani workers are in big demand, considering the
fact that there aren’t many Afghans, who have acquired the skills of electricians, plumbers,
carpenters, masons, steel-fixers, etc. Another sector where Pakistanis are welcome to work is
information technology." On the streets of Kabul, scarred by decades of bloody conflict,
another - previously unimaginable - war unfolds:


Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 30
"In order to entice more customers to use their mobile phones, the Afghan wireless
communication company (AWCC) is reported to be handing out free AWCC sim cards with
credit in exchange for their main mobile competitor Roshan in the capital Kabul.

"Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, an employee at the AWCC offices in Kabul said AWCC
sim cards with credit were being exchanged for Roshan cards. A man living in Kart-e-Sakhi,
Sayed Ali Shah said he exchanged his Roshan for an AWCC. 'The Roshan mobile coverage
was not good enough in the area where he lived.'

"A spokesman for AWCC, Mohammad Nayem Haqmal told Pajhwok that the network
coverage was patchy in some areas: 'People have complained about the mobile coverage of
Roshan and are keen to use Afghan Wireless instead, so we exchange the Roshan in return for
an AWCC sim card.' The Roshan Telephone Company that has more network coverage in
Afghanistan including some of the rural provinces like Bamyan says it's helpless to this latest
ploy. 'We have no option, because it's a commercial competitor,' said the head of the company
Khwaja Karim." Beats skirmishes between warlords. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's once famous
industry is starting to stage a comeback:

"Afghanistan, long famed for its dried fruits and nuts, is gearing up to enter the lucrative
international market for dehydrated vegetables. The first Afghan factory to process vegetable
dehydrates for export will begin operation in January 2005, with soup pots in Europe the initial
target.

"The Parwan Dehydrates Factory, an hour's drive north from Kabul, has already contracted its
2005 production of dried vegetables, valued at $1.2 million, to buyers in the United Kingdom,
Germany and the Netherlands.

"The strong demand from Europe could lead to five to seven additional factories, according to
Erica Oppegard of Development Works, Canada. She said when more factories are up and
running, Afghanistan might be able to extend its exports to the United States and Canada.

"Development Works Canada is a subcontractor for a wide-ranging agricultural rehabilitation
program in Afghanistan that is financed by the U. S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) and managed by the U.S.-based Chemonics International. The budget for the project
is $3.1 million with $2.3 million provided by USAID/Chemonics and $800,000 by
Development Works Canada." Some 1,400 farmers are sub-contracted to provide vegetables
for the factory and additional 400 women farmers - all war widows - will be supplying
sundried tomatoes. Eventually, between 6,000 and 7,000 farmers will be involved in the
project.



Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 31
German authorities in cooperation with the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization
are planning, meanwhile, to rebuild Afghanistan's only sugar factory. "Located in Baghlan
Province 250 km north of Kabul and built by Germany in 1930s, [it] was badly damaged and
ceased operation due to over a quarter century of war and civil strife. At present, Afghanistan
imports 300,000 tons of sugar annually mostly from the neighboring countries, Pakistan in
particular." So far, Germany has funded some $22.4 million worth of aid projects through the
Food and Agriculture Organisation, "of which $17.1 million have been earmarked for 14
projects on agriculture, food security and nut ration in Afghanistan."

Locked out of the economy by the Taliban, Afghan women are now leading the small business
revival throughout the country - thanks to financial micro-assistance:

"At an awards ceremony last month honouring entrepreneurs who have successfully started up
small businesses with the assistance of various microfinance programmes, 18 of the 23
recipients were women. Mustafa Kazemi, the minister of commerce, congratulated the female
winners and noted that they are part of a long tradition of women being active in the business
world. Noting that the wife of the Prophet Muhammad ran her own business, Kazemi said, 'We
should have female businesses in our country, too.'

"The awards ceremony was part of a worldwide effort by the United Nations to call attention to
microcredit and microfinance programmes. Such programmes provide small loans, sometimes
amounting to only 100 US dollars, to individuals who would otherwise not be able to borrow
the money necessary to start their own businesses...

"Five non-governmental organisations, NGOs, that operate microcredit programmes in the
country - CARE International, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC, Parwaz, an
Afghan NGO, the Paris-based Mission d'Aide au Développement des Economies Rurales en
Afghanistan, Madera, and the Washington-based Foundation for International Community
Assistance, FINCA, nominated businesspeople for the awards, with 300 dollar and 100 dollar
prizes...

"Shaqila, the programme's chief loan supervisor in Herat, said her organisation has given loans
to 250 women there since 2003. She said that most of the women have taken out loans out to
start carpet-weaving or clothes-making businesses. Each is loaned 6,000 afghanis [$120] to
start with and after three months, if they’ve paid it back, they can borrow up to 10,000 afghanis
[$200] more. If they pay back that amount after four months, they then can borrow up to
15,000 afghanis [$300]. FINCA requires that borrowers put up collateral for the first loan.




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 32
"Katrin Fakiri, the Afghan-American director of Parwaz, said her organisation, has given loans
to 600 women living in Kabul province since 2003 and has plans to expand to the central
province of Wardak and southern province of Ghazni." Read some of the inspirational stories,
for example that of Mah Gul, a 40 year old tailor from Herat ("Three months ago I was given
6,000 afghanis [$120] by FINCA to start making curtains and clothes.... If there was nobody to
lend the money to me, I would have to go to the houses of rich people to work there and wash
their clothes."), or Faree Gul, a 48-year-old widow from Kabul, who was lent 5,000 afghanis
($100) three months ago ("I started a female-run bakery, and business is getting better day by
day," says Gul. "She now employs all six members of her family and plans to apply for another
loan so she can build an additional bakery."), or Zia Jan, an illiterate 36-year-old seamstress
from Kabul ("I was given 5,000 afghanis [$100] by Parwaz and I bought three sewing
machines. Now I earn 6,000 afghanis [$120] a month."). In Afghanistan, even little things can
make a huge difference to the lives and livelihoods of people. On a smaller scale, one Western
woman is trying to achieve similar results:

"An American Christian woman in Kabul is helping Afghan widows begin new lives. She does
it by teaching them marketable skills and, by comforting them in their grief.

"Donna Islami is the founder of Helping Hands. She told us, 'When I arrived in Afghanistan, I
really had a burden for the women, especially the widows. Many of them were so destitute.
There are no jobs that women can take. Most of them are illiterate.'

"Deeply moved by the miserable plight of the Afghan widows, Donna Islami established
Helping Hands to give these women a chance to a better future. This organization gives free
education and domestic service training to Afghan widows, to prepare them for employment in
the western community living in Afghanistan.

"Donna Islami added, 'We teach them how to cook western meals, how to clean a house and
how to do laundry. And then we find jobs for the ladies and put them to work. We're just
starting a bakery program and we're going to teach them to bake western style cakes, and help
them through micro-financing to start a cooperative business.'

"Islami continued, 'The third program we have is the beauty academy. We will train women to
become beauticians in both Western and Afghan styles. Beauty is a huge part of the Afghan
woman culture. They wear the chuddar and the burkah but underneath they are very beautiful
women. They are very concerned with fashion, style, make-up and hair.' On top of all the
training, since the widows are mostly illiterate, they are taught how to read and write." The
Afghan authorities and United Nations are also trying to do more to generate employment for
Afghan women: "Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) is seeking employment


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opportunities for tens of thousands of unqualified women in the country. The initiative is part
of newly created UN backed employment services centres which are expected to operate in
nine provinces of the country, according to MOWA. The centres will be established to tackle
unemployment and provide training opportunities for unqualified job seekers, according to the
International Labour Organisation (ILO)."

Another major infrastructure project gets underway in western Afghanistan (scroll down):

"Reconstruction work of the Salma dam, in eastern Herat was officially opened by the Indian
Ambassador to Kabul, Week Katchoo on Thursday with the help of US$79 million aid from
the Indian government. The Indian ambassador to Kabul, Week Katchoo, said two Indian
engineers will be overseeing the project. It is estimated that the project will take four years to
complete and the dam itself will be rebuilt first and then the irrigation systems and then its
power-producing turbines and machines.

"The Salma dam was originally constructed in 1976 on the Hari Rud river Basin in Northwest
Afghanistan. The reconstruction will provide the water requirements of Herat province and
support a 42 MW of hydropower for the province when completed. It would also increase
irrigation capacity of nearly 25,000 hectares of agricultural land, according to a spokesman for
the Herat governor spokesman, Mohammadullah Afzali. Ambassador Week said they will also
use the money to rebuild the 170km-long road leading to the site in Chesht district." Speaking
of irrigation, the Asian Development Bank has approved a $10-million grant from the Bank's
Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to improve irrigation networks and water resource
management in the Balkh river basin:

"Water management in the area covering thousands of hectares has traditionally been
organized under mirabs, or locally elected leaders responsible for the irrigation system.

"A system for water allocation also existed, the [Bank] noted. 'However, 25 years of civil
unrest has weakened these traditional institutions for water management,' the bank said, adding
that most irrigation systems are also in poor condition and lack modern designs. The grant will
go to rehabilitate and upgrade traditional irrigation systems, the [Bank] said." The World Bank,
meanwhile, will be faciliating the signing of a water treaty between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Read also this story of the cooperative effort between the Nippon International Cooperation for
Community Development (NICCO) and the Herat University's School of Agriculture to help
improve agriculture in the province. And in other infrastructure news, the Afghan government
has signed an agreement with various NGOs for the construction of government buildings
throughout the country.




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In transport news, Asian Development Bank is providing a concessional loan of $80 million for
the construction of roads through some of the least developed areas of Afghanistan: "The
project will reconstruct the last unpaved section of the national primary ring road, spanning
210 kilometers from Andkhoy to Qaisar.

"The road improvements will dramatically decrease travel times and vehicle operating costs,
providing better access to health, education and other services, and improved agricultural
prices, to at least 800,000 in the project area, half of whom live below the poverty line.

"The project is part of a coordinated international assistance to improve the road connecting
Herat to Andkhoy, which will become a major north-south link across the central mountains,
and significantly improve the stability and reliability of Afghanistan's transport system.

"The road will also form a major road transport corridor from Central Asia to the warm water
ports in the south, contributing to economic growth and poverty reduction in the subregion.

"Beside bringing the project road to asphalt-paved standard, to allow the smooth passage of
heavy vehicles, the project will finance installation of road toll facilities, including toll plazas,
computer and communications equipment for national primary roads supported by
international assistance." In other transport network developments, "the Kabul-Kandahar road
is open and the final surfacing expected to be completed [soon]... On Kandahar-Herat road, the
Japanese government is tasked with construction of the first 71 miles... Saudi Arabia is funding
the next 71 miles, with the United States completing the final 200 miles. The United States has
built camps for workers, established construction control systems, and begun work on concrete
and asphalt plants while preparing the existing concrete road for new surfacing. Construction
has also begun on six of the ten secondary roads projects."

India and Pakistan, meanwhile, are discussing the possibility of opening a transport route from
Afghanistan to India through Pakistan, taking advantage in the improving Indian-Pakistani
relations. The economic boost to landlocked Afghanistan would of course be considerable.
Also, a new railway link will connect Afghanistan and Pakistan: "The first phase... that would
take more than a year[,] would link Chaman [in Pakistan] with Spin Boldak in Afghanistan.
Later, the link would be further expanded to Kandhar and later on Khushka, the border point of
Turkmenistan which would take nearly five years involving international funding."

And on another transport axis, governments of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan have
signed an agreement to build trans-Afghan land corridor, a 2,400-km road linking both
landlocked countries with the Pakistani coast of the Indian Ocean.




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 35
In banking news, Iran's Aryan Bank has officially opened its first branch in Kabul, with two
more, in Herat and Kandahar, expected to open as soon as security situation allows. There are
now 11 foreign banks operating in Afghanistan. Speaking of Iran, "based on a 5-year
commitment, Iran is due to donate 50 million dollars annually to the war-torn country... The
total donation will reach 250 million dollars by 2006... [Iran is] implementing 16 development
projects in Afghanistan including the construction of Herat-Dogharoun road, implementation
of a project to provide Herat's water and electricity and construction of a technical and
vocational center in Herat."

HUMANITARIAN AID: The Afghan government is streamlining and cleaning up the
humanitarian aid effort throughout the country:

"International aid agencies in Afghanistan have welcomed a government audit of the
humanitarian aid sector aimed at weeding out corruption and the misuse of international aid
money.

"Afghanistan's government launched a probe last week of humanitarian organisations working
in the country in a move long sought by the frustrated aid community.

"With new four-wheel-drive vehicles and comfortable offices and residences, the humanitarian
community is seen as living in incomprehensible luxury by ordinary Afghans who believe
reconstruction is proceeding too slowly.

"The investigation was announced the day after the resignation of planning minister Ramazan
Bachardoust, who was heavily criticised over his proposal to dissolve more than 2,000 non-
governmental organisations (NGOs).

"President Hamid Karzai's spokesman Jawed Ludin told a news conference on Tuesday that
'hundreds, probably thousands' of aid groups were misusing aid money due to the absence of a
legal framework to oversee their activities. 'The money granted to NGOs is sacred and is for
the pursuance of the well-being of the Afghan people. This money has to be spent transparently
and where it is supposed to be spent,' he said." On the ground, one Western organisation is
killing two birds with one stone: improving security and helping local livelihoods: "Turning
mines to vines has been the mission of Roots of Peace (RoP) founder and director Heidi Kuhn
since she began her efforts to rid the world of landmines in September of 1997, after the death
of Princess Diana... The rich agricultural area of the Shomali Plains, about 30 miles north of
Kabul... has a 7,000-year tradition of growing grapes, and at one time boasted 70 different
varieties... Through a myriad of donors, the San Rafael-based organization raised the largest
private demining donation in the history of Afghanistan... Last summer, 300 Afghan deminers



Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 36
removed more than 100,000 landmines from this region, which this month will yield 80 tons of
grapes to be exported to India. 'It gives me great pride and great hope to know there will be a
harvest of hope in the next week,' Kuhn enthused." You can find out more about the
organization's work here.

A teacher from Virginia, meanwhile, is trying to make a difference for the school kids of
Afghanistan:

"Doug Dillon, Loudoun's Teacher of the Year, is busy building schools in Afghanistan. One is
up and running, two are nearing completion... Dillon appealed to some of his old teaching
colleagues back in Loudoun for help rounding up school supplies. Just the basics. The pencils
and crayons and rulers and tablets that most American children take for granted on the first day
of school. The response has been overwhelming." So far, 160 pounds of supplies have been
donated from Cedar Lane Elementary School, 30 cartons from Harper Park Middle School, and
more from Fairfax Elementary School. Meanwhile, Massachusetts students are contributing,
too: "Students at Mount Greylock Regional Middle School have a goal of raising $500 for the
Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation to build a school in Afghanistan. The students have
begun their efforts, according to Ginny Abuisi, a special education teacher at the school, by
selling house-shaped cutouts from construction paper. During their lunch hour, students pay $1
for each cutout. 'They represent the idea of building a school in Afghanistan,' said Abuisi, who
is coordinator of the Student Activities Organization, the group that organized the fund-raiser."

Even preschoolers are helping:

"In her light-blue plush pajamas, Ruthie Learned didn't exactly look ready for a day of
commerce. But the 5-year-old was all business as she walked through the halls of Seattle's Coe
Elementary with her mother on a recent Friday, delivering bags of homemade cookies. At least,
she was until 9 a.m., when it was time to join her fellow kindergartners on Pajama Day, also
the last day of classes before the winter break.

"The cookies brought in a decent haul: about $2,500, including donations. It might be difficult
for a kindergartner to understand the value of a few thousand dollars, but Ruthie has an idea
what it might pay for. She's seen the photos of the girls' school in Afghanistan that every class
at Coe helped raised money for, and last year, she saw Oprah Winfrey on television helping
poor children in South Africa." And a doctor from Massachusetts will also be trying to make a
difference:




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 37
"Many might think that at 65 it's time for Dr. Elliott Larson -- a longtime MetroWest internist
and infectious disease specialist -- to hang up his stethoscope, invest in some golf clubs and
relax.

"Larson's some 2,000 plus patients throughout Massachusetts are adjusting to the fact that he is
closing his practice for good at the end of this month. But, by no means is this father of five
and grandfather of 10 retiring.

"Instead, Larson, who has practiced at Marlborough Hospital since 1991, and his wife Martha,
are moving to Afghanistan. There, he will serve as a clinician specializing in infectious disease
and teach post-graduate medical students. For the Larsons, married for 37 years, this is their
second excursion to Afghanistan.

" 'It's logical to go back to Afghanistan because there's a need there,' Larson said. 'The political
situation is favorable now to people going there to try to help. Now, the second time around,
it's a little easier to say that it's a good place to go because we know a little bit of the language
from our time before and we have friends there and we continue to have contacts within the
country'." Sometimes the help from overseas takes the form of food for the mind and soul
rather than the body:

"In early January, when most Americans will be resting from the holidays, Teressa Rerras will
leave her Granby Park home and board a plane to Afghanistan. Rerras will begin her ninth
journey to that war-wasted land. She'll be heading back to see her students, young women she
came to adore last spring as she taught them photography." THE COALITION TROOPS: The
reconstruction reach of the Coalition keeps expanding: "The provisional reconstruction team in
Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan -- the 19th in the country -- held a grand-opening ceremony... 'This
PRT has been operational for some time, but it still represents a significant commitment to
enabling, enhancing and improving the capacity of the Afghan nation and extending the
outreach of the government of Afghanistan,' a spokesman for Combined Forces Command
Afghanistan said... The support provided by the PRT in Tarin Kowt, and the other 18 coalition
and International Security and Assistance Force PRTs, enables the government to bring a
tangible benefit to the people throughout all provinces."

The official reconstruction effort undertaken by the US Army is conducted through civil affairs
teams. This is their story: "After building countless schools, roads and wells here, coalition
forces are routinely met with a thumbs up and a 'How are you?' nearly everywhere around here
and the surrounding province of Paktia. The positive response wouldn't be possible if it weren't
for the civil affairs teams working throughout the country to bring much-needed utilities and
supplies to the war-ravaged area. The road to reconstruction hasn't always been easy, but


Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 38
dedicated members of the Army Civil Affairs branch, working on Civil Affairs Teams Alpha --
called CAT-A teams, have brought everything they can to help the people and the government
of Afghanistan."

Soldiers from the South Dakota National Guard's 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and
the National Guard's 109th Engineer Group stationed in and around Bagram are involved in a
whole range of local projects, such as rebuilding the airport with local sub-contractors, building
a road between Kandahar to Tarin Kowt in the north ("The road marks the start of a major
north-to-south road system through the middle of the country"), and planning for construction
of three schools.

Other soldiers just help to spread the news:

"Two soldiers go to the Ghazni radio and television studio each week to produce a broadcast
address to the local community as part of an effort to reach out and inform area Afghans. 'Once
a week we come to the station and talk to the people via television and radio,' said Lt. Col.
Gerald Timoney, Ghazni [Provincial Reconstruction Team] commander. 'It's a chance for us to
let the community know what the coalition is doing in the area.'

"The address is taped and broadcast throughout the week. 'We talk about a lot of different
things during the show,' said Lt. Col. Blake Ortner, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 116th
Infantry Regiment. 'We talk about the messages we have for the community.' Reconstruction
and security are two of the major components of the weekly message.

" 'We are always asking for the community's help,' Ortner said. 'We ask them to turn in any
weapons they have and report any suspicious people to the police.' And the Afghan people are
heeding the call. 'The response to the weapons turn-in program has been overwhelming,' Ortner
said. 'We've had so many weapons and munitions turned in that we had to set up a turn-in point
off the base to accommodate all of it'." In addition to official security and reconstruction duties,
the troops also find time and inspiration to help the Afghan people of their own initiative. For
example, this Iowan soldier's Operation "Shoes for Kids" has proved to be a huge success:

"When Army Staff Sgt. Mark Matteson rode through an Afghan village for the first time, he
saw barefoot children everywhere -- not because they didn't want to wear shoes, but because
they had none. 'You see the children -- it hits you right in the heart. Or at least that's how it is
for me,' said Matteson of the shoeless children who can be seen in nearly every city, town and
village throughout Afghanistan...




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 39
" 'I saw the kids with no shoes, and I wrote back home to tell them what's going on here,' he
said about how he started his 'Shoes for Kids' program. Volunteers stateside gather shoes and
mail them to him in Afghanistan to donate to the children. To date, Matteson estimates he's
received more than 7,000 pairs of shoes from those in his native Iowa. 'It kicked off so big,
there will still be shoes coming in after I leave next June,' he said." A similar action from
Missouri has had part-military, part-divine inspiration:

"When the U.S. Army asked for a chaplain to serve alongside soldiers in battle zones in
Afghanistan, they got much more than a spiritual leader. The 325th Army Field Hospital and
the people of Afghanistan got Capt. Richard Krenning and the support of two central Missouri
towns.

"When Krenning arrived in Bagran, Afghanistan, he saw the need to make life better not only
for the soldiers, but also for local residents. Since last August, Krenning and Rolla native Sgt.
Kevin Schallion have spearheaded a drive with the people and businesses of Rolla and St.
James to supply shoes and school supplies to children and women in Afghanistan. The
collection process will end this month." Master Sgt. Jerry Eisenbraun, a member of the 109th
Engineering Group in Rapid City, South Dakota, is collecting toys and schools supplies for 400
Afghan children as part of Adopt a School program. And a group of Utah aviators have
brought the spirit of Christmas to Central Asia through "Angels for Afghanistan" program:

"Forget the sleigh, this year Santa and his helpers arrived in the village of Jegdalek,
Afghanistan in Schnuck helicopters. A village, where people live in mud huts. For two Utah
pilots, it was one of the most memorable Christmas's they've had. With the help of their wives
and community back in Utah, about 70 pallettes full of blankets, combs, shoes, candy and other
necessities were shipped overseas.

"Layne Pace: 'We went through the packages and made 300 individual gift packages for the
kids, some marked boys, some marked girls.'

"But before Santa handed out gifts, elders in the village wanted to share their culture. 'They
danced and played drums for us, for about 25-30 minutes.'

"Then the pilots shared a part of theirs. 'We sang them Christmas carols, and Christmas songs.'
'We had one of our pilots play Santa Claus.' Each child received a package from Santa, filled
with toys, blankets and hygiene kits. 'I believe this is the first time a lot of them have had
something of their own, especially the girls'." Here's more from New York state:




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"Afghan children crowded around Marine Corps Major Rush Filson with their requests - not
candy, not toys, not money. 'They wanted notebooks and pencils, crayons, books,' Filson told a
roomful of Pine Cobble School students Monday.

"Filson has just returned from a tour of duty as an advisor in Afghanistan, where his visit to a
rural school sparked a fund-raising drive that has raised more than $45,000 and drawn in
church congregations, schools, including Pine Cobble and in Adams, St. Stanislaus Kostka, as
well as organizations such as the Dalton WeBeLows and a 4-H horse group in Stephentown,
N.Y." Elsewhere in Afghanistan, "Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, manning
a base along the Pakistan border recently began a campaign to distribute much-needed school
supplies to the children of Nagalam, near one of the battalion's forward operating bases."

And U.S. Army Sgt. Caleb Wines is bringing a gift of better sight to Afghanistan's young and
old:

"For the past seven months, [Wines] the League City optician has been stationed in
Afghanistan where he is responsible for the eye care of American soldiers, coalition soldiers
and American civilians with the 312th Medical Logistics Detachment.

"In addition to his routine duties, Wines, who is an optical laboratory specialist, has been
taking part in military-sponsored humanitarian missions to help the elderly Afghan population
get proper eye care and eyewear. As part of that work, Wines and others have also met with
young patients in need of glasses.

"Yet Wines, 23, had few options for those youngsters - the only frames available to him to
distribute were large, military-issued frames." Now, thanks to the help of his friends and
colleagues back home, Wines is bringing back with him to Afghanistan some 150 children's
frames. "[Wines's] plans for the next several months include performing eye exams on Afghan
children and then custom-cutting the lenses to the donated frames based on individual
prescriptions."

SECURITY: There are increasing signs that the Taliban are becoming less of a security
problem and that the proposed amnesty might further weaken the movement:

"Abdul Rahman Akhund has been battling US and Afghan government troops for three long,
hard years. He misses raising his kids among the quiet pomegranate orchards he used to tend at
home. With another frigid winter setting in, and a new US offensive being launched this week,
this weary Taliban fighter says he's ready to come in from the cold.




Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 41
" 'If the government will let us peacefully return to our villages and our children, we will
come,' he says. 'We are tired living on the run in these snowy mountains.'

"His fellow tribesman, Sarwar Akhund, goes one step further: Taliban leader Mullah
Mohammed Omar and terror kingpin Osama bin Laden, he charges, tricked followers like him
into believing they were fighting a holy war against infidels, 'when really they just wanted to
consolidate their own seats of power.' If allowed back into society, he pledges to 'do whatever I
can' to help kill or capture the fugitive leaders.

"The two soldiers expressed views that intelligence circles across southern Afghanistan have
been hearing for months. Many officials, military strategists, and diplomats here are
increasingly optimistic that the Taliban are largely a spent force, made up in great parts by
disillusioned, worn out foot soldiers like the Akhund tribesmen." The demobilization program,
too, is progressing well. Around Mazar-i-Sharif a landmark in the program has been reached,
as "all of the militia fighters in an Afghan region have been disarmed as fighters loyal to two
northern commanders gave up their guns." Some 3,000 fighters loyal to ethnic Uzbek
commander General Rashid Dostum were disarmed as was a similar number loyal to his rival
Mohammad Atta. Child soldiers are also finding their way back into the civilian life, with their
demobilization program hitting the half-way mark:

"Nearly 4,000 child soldiers have been demobilised in 15 provinces of Afghanistan under a
UN-backed programme... The Child Soldiers Demoblisation and Reintegration Programme is
designed to target an estimated 8,000 such children in the country mostly forcibly conscripted
to fighting forces in the last years of more than two decades of armed conflict and civil war...

"Each of the demobilised children then receives a package of support, starting with their
registration in the programme's database, receipt of photo identity cards, medical and
psychosocial assessments and briefing sessions on mine risk education and reintegration
options. UNICEF said all demobilised children had also been offered voluntary testing for HIV
and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). After demobilisation, each demobilised child has the
opportunity to participate in a number of reintegration options, including returning to education
or enrolling in vocational training programmes to learn a practical skill." Overall, the struggle
to reduce the power and influence of Afghanistan's warlords is making slow but steady
progress. Demobilization and disarmament are, of course, the major tactics; but so is
defunding: recently, for example, Iran has frozen the assets of the fundamentalist warlord
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e-Islami group, widely suspected of sympathies and
cooperation with Taliban and al Qaeda. "Now that many commanders have been at least
partially disarmed, their former victims are demonstrating their new-found power," according
to the Afghan Recovery Report:


Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 42
"Local Afghan commanders who have surrendered some of their power under a United
Nations-sponsored disarmament programme are now finding themselves under attack from
long-suffering civilians demanding retribution for years of abuse.

"The most recent incident occurred in late November when more than 1,000 residents of Sang
Charak district in northern Afghanistan's Sar-e-Pul province demonstrated against a local
militia leader who they said had illegally confiscated their property over the past 20 years."
The warlord's violent reaction - or self-defence, as he claims - is now creating even more open
protests. According to Qazi Sayed Ahmad Sameh, the national Independent Human Rights
Commission's director in northern Afghanistan, "when [warlord] commanders realise their
days in power may be numbered, they tend to step up their violent criminal activities. But in
many cases, people are now taking matters into their own hands and standing up to violence,
extortion and intimidation." The power is definitely shifting in favor of Afghanistan's long-
suffering citizens.

Afghanistan's newly appointed Defence Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, reports that plans to
build the new national army are progressing on schedule: "The target to have a 70,000-strong
army will be achieved by December 2006," says the Minister. "Under the historic Bonn
agreement signed in late 2001 among various Afghan groups, the post-war Afghanistan would
have a 70,000 brand new strong army and of these, according to officials, 25,000 have already
been recruited... The United States and its allies have been providing training to the personnel
of the fledgling Afghanistan National Army (ANA). However, the Afghan Air Force would be
set up until 2009, the minister noted."

The Afghan army is being trained by hundreds of dedicated soldiers like this Texas Army
National Guardsman: "Each morning at the Kabul Military Training Center, in a small
compound called the 'Alamo,' Staff Sgt. Kevin Hinds and his training cadre wake up to greet
800 basic trainees and put them through the day's paces." Read the whole story.

The construction of military infrastructure also continues across the country. Four new bases
for the Afghan army are being built in Herat, Kandahar, Gardez, and Mazar-i-Sharif. They are
expected to accommodate 4,000 soldiers.

It's not just the Americans; NATO, too, has committed to increasing its presence in
Afghanistan in the run-up to the April parliamentary elections. "The Alliance is preparing to
expand the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The so-
called 'phase 2' expansion will see NATO deploying Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs)
to the West of the country. 'Contributing to peace, stability and democracy in Afghanistan,
through the UN-mandated, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, remains the


Page…………………………………………………………………………………………… 43
Alliance's key priority,' said a joint communique issued after the meeting." Italy, for example,
is expected to contribute security and Provincial Reconstruction Teams to the province of
Herat.

With the fight against terrorism succeeding across the country, the fight against another enemy
- the opium poppy cultivation - is now increasingly getting into gear. As President Karzai has
told an anti-drug conference in Kabul, "the nation of Afghanistan, for its survival from this
disgrace, this dishonour, has to fight against poppy ... like it fought against the Soviets... If we
do not, our homeland, our independence, our soil will face danger again." The US ambassador,
Zalmay Khalilzad, has announced that the Congress is planning to provide $780 million in the
next few months to assist Afghanistan in its fight against drugs, chiefly to provide for
alternative employment opportunities for some 125,000 people in three of the country's
provinces. The money will also help the Afghan government in the areas of "public outreach,
judicial reform, interdiction, alternative livelihoods, and eradication." The Drug Enforcement
Agency is also playing an increased role on the ground in Afghanistan. And William Hogan,
one of Chicago's best known prosecutors is heading to Afghanistan to focus on combating the
drug trafficking.

At a recent meeting, the European Union foreign ministers, too, have made the fighting of
cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan the "central priority" of the EU
aid effort. And the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States have set up a
joint committee tasked with coordinating the effort to fight the opium cultivation.

On the domestic scene, "a team of Afghan judges, prosecutors and investigators began
training... as part of a drive to accelerate a crackdown on Afghanistan's booming drug trade...
Some 85 individuals, including 15 judges, have been chosen as members of a task force to be
trained by the Italian Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences in order to prepare them
for speeding narcotics cases through Afghan courts. 'One fault in our system was that we didn't
have a system. Now we have a system,' Deputy Interior Minister General Mohammad Daud."
There is also talk of establishing a government ministry to deal specifically with anti-drugs
policy. In the meantime, the government authorities are brainstorming on the best ways to
tackle the problem in a way that also offers hope for the country's farmers: "With the objective
of developing rural credit and addressing the problem of opium debt, the Government of
Afghanistan convened a two-day workshop to discuss experience and put forward
recommendations for increasing the quality and outreach of the rural financial sector. The
workshop, organized by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) with
support from the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development,
particularly focused on the challenges the opium economy presents to rural financial markets."
USAID, too, is contributing to that effort:


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"Over the past six weeks, an Alternative Livelihoods Program has been designed and launched
for three high-priority provinces: Helmand, Badakhshan, and Nangarhar. Activities will
include immediate cash-for-work programs aimed at rebuilding rural infrastructure, and will
provide a social safety net in communities hard-hit by the counter-narcotics program. In
addition to this immediate response, in early 2005 contracts will be signed for a three-year,
accelerated rural development program will be launched. This integrated effort will focus on
providing farmers and communities with viable commercial alternatives to poppy." And a
wheat seed distribution program for farmers in Nangarhar Province will commence shortly to
allow 19,000 farmers to plant 4,000 hectares of wheat instead of poppy.

There are already some successes on the anti-drug front, as the "Guardian" reports: "Significant
numbers of farmers in Nangarhar have spurned opium for wheat in some districts, said the
deputy governor, Muhammad Asif Qazi Zada. Diplomats in Kabul have received reports of a
similar drop in Hilmand, another top drugs province.

"The claims can only be fully verified during April's harvest. But in three areas visited by the
Guardian, there was real evidence of change. In Pachir wa Agam, a few miles from the
Pakistani border, Shah Wazir stood on a plot that was carpeted with poppies last year. Now
there is wheat. 'When we voted for Karzai we promised to stop the poppy in return for
irrigation and good roads,' he said. 'We are keeping our side of the bargain. Now he must keep
his.'

"Civic spirit is not the only factor in the change of heart in this remote district. Crop disease
last year turned some farmers from opium. Others have been scared by a concerted anti-opium
drive by the governor and provincial police chief. The area's Pashtuns are also hoping
international promises of help will finally come good." Meanwhile, on the ground, the law
enforcement war against opium goes on: "A special anti-narcotics task force has raided drug
laboratories in eastern Afghanistan, seizing more than 15 tons of opium... That amount of
opium, one of the largest confiscations in recent years, could have been refined into about 1
tons of heroin... The raids took place... in Nangarhar province's Achin district... Afghan Special
Narcotics Force agents also destroyed 24 opium presses that are used to refine the drug. They
also seized three tons of chemicals used to process opium into heroin and five AK-47 assault
rifles."

In other recent security successes: the Canadian troops in cooperation with the Afghan army
preventing an imminent attack on their base by unearthing a big weapons cache; securing
another huge weapons cache, again by the Canadians (Lt.-Cmdr. Ken MacKillop, a spokesman
for the International Security Assistance Force: "We are seeing this type of thing occurring
more frequently where Afghans are disclosing the location of these weapons... This is an


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indication that the Afghan people are feeling safer now and that they believe that they no
longer need to rely on the use of these weapons and ammunition in order to survive."); the
arrest in south-central Afghanistan of two senior Taliban commanders and six militants; the
arrest of the Taliban leader Mullah Omar's former security chief Mullah Naqibullah Toor; and
the seizure of five arms caches in late December ("The first, near Tarin Kowt, contained two
107 rockets, an 82 mm mortar, a mine, a rocket-propelled grenade round, three cans of mortar
fuses, one can of mine fuses and two 107 mm rocket fuses. Local teenagers near Salerno
directed soldiers to the second cache, which contained three RPGs. The third cache, near Waza
Khwa, contained 13 boxes of machine gun ammunition, and various pieces of electronic and
radio equipment. The fourth weapons cache, near Ghazni, contained 6,600 boxes of 14.5 mm
rounds and 5,700 boxes of 12.7 mm rounds. The fifth weapons cache near Orgun-e contained
11 107 mm rockets, an RPG launcher and a recoilless rifle").

And in recent security successes across the border in Pakistan, the authorities in the southern
port city of Karachi arrested Syed Akbar Agha, the head of the Army of Muslims, who is
suspected of involvement in the recent kidnapping of three UN workers in Afghanistan. The
Afghan authorities remain in favor of building a regional security partnership involving
Pakistan and the United States. "Fighting terrorism, drug abuse and smuggling weapons
requires a collective war among the neighboring nations," says the Defence Ministry
spokesman.

Radek Sikorski, one of the few Westerners to travel through Afghanistan with mudjahedin
during the war against the Soviet occupiers in the 1980s, has recently made a return visit to a
city he knew well from the time of trouble:

"Herat [today] does not look like a warlord's den. The airport road, which I crossed in 1987,
terrified of the Soviet tanks whose tracks had turned it into a series of potholes, is now covered
in asphalt, and illuminated by working street lights. It is lined with freshly planted pines, and
has a central reservation with a lawn. The western suburbs, where I spent several weeks in
1987 dodging Soviet bombs and rockets, used to be called 'little Hiroshima'. Today, it's a busy
commercial area, with a new ring road along the ancient city walls.

"Until a year ago Ismael Khan channelled money from Herat's customs terminal--trucks from
Iran and Turkmenistan have to pass through the city--into public parks, a monument to the
Soviet war, and new roads. It's quite something, in this dry country, to see women in burkas
riding pedal boats in Herat's municipal water-park, as well as a lunatic asylum and a drug
rehabilitation clinic in a country not known for its social infrastructure. Land in Herat has been
set aside and houses built for the widows of fallen partisans. I visited several girls' schools."
Sikorski concludes: "One evening I stood on the terrace of a restaurant that overlooks the city


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from the cooler, northern hills, in the company of a group of Afghan university rectors who
had gathered there for a conference. We watched the sodium street lights light up all over the
city. 'This is not like Afghanistan!' exclaimed one of the Afghans. This was the highest
compliment he could think of." Today, thanks to the efforts of countless Afghans and members
of the Coalition, this is becoming Afghanistan.

Note: Also available at the "Opinion Journal" and Winds of Change. Thanks to James Taranto
and Joe Katzman for their support for this project, and thanks to readers and bloggers who have
done so much to publicize the series and make it better

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AR5 BBC Monitoring (Radio Afghanistan)
11 January 2005
Headline: Afghan president promises positive changes for Hazara group


Hamed Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, received representatives of
the Hazara Council at the Presidential Palace today.

At the meeting, Haji Solaiman Yari and Abdol Wahed Rahimi, speaking on behalf of the
others, talked about education, issues concerning public health, rebuilding of roads, electricity
supply, security, and raised a number of problems of the Hazara [ethnic group] regions. They
expressed their pleasure about the fact that the new government accelerated the disarmament
programme throughout the country, thus enabling the people to nominate their representatives
for the parliamentary elections without fear.

Afterwards, the president said: I am confident that the new cabinet will bring about positive
changes in different areas, roads will be built and the lack of electricity will be resolved.

The president added: The Afghan nation have been making constant efforts with great
enthusiasm to rebuild their country. The Afghans are taking decisive steps to achieve a
prosperous future. The people of Afghanistan showed the world that they are aware and
vigilant; they can make use of positive and significant opportunities if they are provided to
them.

For the time being, the people in the world admire Afghans because the Afghans safeguarded
their dignity once again. We are determined to join the convoy of development and civilization
in under the guiding light of the new Afghan constitution, and by taking into account the
opinion of elders, scholars, influential people, the young generation, and the people's valuable
traditions.

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AR7 BBC Monitoring (Afghanistan Television)
11 January 2005
Headline: Afghan women want "unwanted effects" of tradition removed, improve their
lot

Hamed Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, received a number of women
at the Presidential Palace today.

Jamila Mojahid, Wolangai Safi, Mari Akrami and Samar Aslami spoke on behalf of other
women and said they were ready to take part in the reconstruction of their country alongside
men, in the spirit of the constitution.

The women said that the government should implement the constitution, carry out the general
disarmament programme, remove the unwanted effects of tradition on women, establish courts
for women all over the country, launch literacy campaigns to married women during the winter
vacations in different provinces, establish training centres and schools, keep students away
from political games, and improve the general living condition for children.

Speaking to the women, Hamed Karzai said: During the jihad and resistance, our sisters proved
that they love their country. They made great achievements and gained pride for their country.
Achievements that the people of Afghanistan have made during the voters' registration process
[for the presidential election] and in other, different fields are mostly the result of the efforts
made by women.

Hamed Karzai added: According to our constitution, men and women have equal rights. Men
and women together should take part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Women and other
members of families should exert strenuous efforts to encourage girls to go to school, and
provide illiterate women in villages and remote areas with education.

As a public servant, the elected government will work hard to bring positive changes in the
general condition of people's life and lead the country towards economic development. I will
fulfil my promises and work in the spirit of the constitution.

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ALM2a Program summary of Afghan Balkh TV news in Dari

A. News headlines

B. Home news

1. 0030 Balkh Province Deputy Governor Mohammad Zaher Wahdat presides over a plenary
meeting of the provincial government. (Video shows the meeting, Wahdat speaking)

2. 0215 Mohammad Zaher Wahdat talks about the presidential elections and forthcoming
parliamentary elections, reconstruction and the latest developments in Afghanistan at a meeting
with the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan. (Video shows talks)

3. 0300 The commander of Shahin Military Corps No 209, Taj Mohammad Jahid, discusses
disarmament and building up a competent Afghan national army at a meeting in his office with
the head of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process. (Video shows the
meeting, Taj Mohammad speaking)

4. 0411 The latest group of people to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca leave Mazar-e Sharif for
Kabul. (Video shows the head of the Hajj office speaking)

5. 0516 The head of the security command receives the deputy UN chief to discuss security for
the forthcoming parliamentary elections and banning poppy cultivation in the country. (No
video)

6. 0605 The Balkh National Security Office discovers a quantity of weapons in Chemtal
District. (No video)

7. 0746 The Balkh National Security Office discovers a quantity of different weapons in a
house in Mazar-e Sharif. (Video shows the weapons)

8. 0919 Gen Fazli, an interior ministry representative in the Provincial Reconstruction Team
(PRT), and the chief of border police discuss the problems of border police. The sides pledge
cooperation. (Video shows the meeting)

9. 1009 A PRT official donates a projector to the Balkh medical college. (No video)

10. 1046 A-two day workshop on safeguarding human rights is launched in Mazar-e Sharif.
(No video)

11. 1131 Announcements

- A missing boy is found

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ALM5a Program summary of Radio Afghanistan news in Dari

A. News headlines

B. Home news (Repeat of 1430 gmt, plus the following)

1. Former King Mohammad Zaher had a meeting with governor, elders, and representatives of
Balkh Province today. The governor of Balkh Province said that the people in Balkh would
spare no efforts to ensure security and strengthening national unity.

2. Hamed Karzai received representatives of the Hazara Council this evening. The
representatives urged the government to accelerate implementation of disarmament throughout
the country. (PROCESSING)

3. National Defence Minister Abdorrahim Wardag had a meeting with US undersecretary of
defence today, and they discussed the improvement of the national armed forces.

4. Senior Presidential Advisor and Commerce Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala met elders and
representatives of Baghlan Province today. The representatives expressed their readiness to
support the government in implementing the provision of the constitution.

5. Report on Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali's press briefing with journalists of Arabic
newspapers today. (PROCESSING)

6. Ali Ahmad Jalali had a meeting with elders and representatives of Balkh Province today.
The representatives promised to support the government in fighting poppy cultivation,
corruption, and implementing disarmament.

7. A meeting of representatives of the European Commission on giving training to the
personnel of Bakhtar Information Agency and Radio and TV of Afghanistan was held, chaired
by the information and culture minister today. (Afghanistan TV 1430 gmt, 11 Jan 05)

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AE2 Bloomberg
11 January 2005
Headline: Afghanistan Needs $120 Mln to Hold National Elections, UN Says

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Afghanistan needs at least $120 million from international donors to
help the country hold parliamentary and local elections this year, said United Nations envoy
Jean Arnault.

The cost of the polls will increase by $30 million if the estimated 3 million Afghan refugees
living in neighboring Pakistan and Iran take part, Arnault told the Security Council yesterday,
according to the UN's Web site.

``Last year's presidential election showed the determination with which the Afghans embrace
this vision'' of living in peace, Arnault said, according to the UN. ``The repeated failures of
extremists to derail the electoral process, combined with the better performance of security
forces, point to the possibility that the current improvement in the overall security situation will
be sustained.''

Afghanistan's move to democracy began with last October's first direct presidential election,
won by Hamid Karzai, who served as interim president after the Taliban regime was ousted in
December 2001. Parliamentary and local elections are scheduled to take place between April
21 and May 21, Arnault said.

Karzai, 46, is consulting with the heads of 50 political parties and local community leaders on
appointing members of an Independent Electoral Commission, Arnault said. As many as 400
district elections have to be planned, voter lists drawn up and a decision taken on the
participation of refugees, he said.

Refugee Population

Two decades of civil war and drought in Afghanistan produced the world's largest refugee
population of 3.5 million people, most of whom fled to Pakistan and Iran. Afghans have
returned to the country under a United Nations program since 2001.

About 850,000 Afghan refugees voted in Pakistan and Iran in the Oct. 9 presidential election.
The vote was the largest out-of- country election ever, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said
at the time.

Afghan police and army units will play a key role in providing security for the elections,
Arnault said. International security forces ``remain indispensable'' for supporting those national
forces, he said.

The U.S. has 18,000 soldiers in Afghanistan hunting fugitives from the ousted Taliban regime
and the al-Qaeda terrorist network. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has 9,000 soldiers
in the United Nations-authorized International Security Assistance Force, which is responsible
for security in the capital, Kabul.


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National Army

The Afghan National Army, created since 2001, has more than 21,000 soldiers, 17,800 of them
trained and 3,400 still in training, U.S. Army Major Mark McCann said yesterday in Kabul,
according to the American Forces Press Service.

The national police force will have 37,000 officers by April, an increase from 32,000 personnel
now serving, Arnault said in his report.

Afghanistan needs aid to run its disarmament and demobilization programs, Arnault said.

``The Security Council calls upon the international community to support efforts currently
under way on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of Afghan militias and on
combating the production and trafficking of narcotics,'' he said.

The UN and Afghan governments two days ago extended their program for collecting heavy
weapons, such as artillery pieces, to the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, the United Nations
mission in the country said.

The program to disarm militiamen of their guns and other weapons began more than a year
ago. More than 32,700 militiamen have now handed in their weapons from an estimated 50,000
militia members in the country, the UN Assistance Mission said.

About 8,000 artillery pieces and armored vehicles have been brought to collection points under
the heavy weapons cantonment program, the Mission said.

Opium Production

Karzai said at his Dec. 7 inauguration that combating drug trafficking and ending the rule of
warlords are the priorities of his government.

Afghanistan is the world's biggest opium producer. Poppy cultivation in the country, the main
engine of economic growth, increased 64 percent in 2004, the United Nations said in a report
in November. The opium poppy is the raw ingredient in heroin.

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AE4 FBIS (Erada)
10 January 2005

Headline: Afghan Daily Accuses Dostum of Pursuing Own Power Through Coalition

Unattributed commentary: "What are you after, Mr General?!"

 There have been reports of a new coalition recently - a coalition of two of the defeated and
desperate contestants in the presidential elections and a coalition which is all about obtaining
privileges and interest in all senses of these words.

 In a continuation of the unsuitable and harmful coalitions which have always destroyed his
coalition partners, this time Gen Dostum has extended the hand of friendship towards a person
who has no military power or public support. The trait in the personality of this person [Abdol
Latif Pedram] that has caught the attention of Mr Dostum is his scheme to divide and
decentralize. He subtly and cleverly presents these ideas everywhere on the pretext of
federalism.

 Dostum, in a coalition with Pedram, has made some moves in the country's north in a bid to
involve himself in the country's affairs and to exert pressure. The general's tactic is the same
one he applied in the past during the presidential elections. Now he is using the same tactic -
inciting tribal and linguistic issues to provoke and exploit the sincere emotions of the noble
northern people - to acquire some privileges.

 The general is well aware that implementation of the DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization
and Reintegration] program will destroy the pillars of his power in the areas he once
considered his domain. He is no longer riding the horses he sat astride when he ruined all the
moral and material values of Afghanistan under their hooves. Not being in a government post
also makes it possible for people to hold him accountable. Therefore, the general is seeking
assistance from Mr Pedram. He may consider Mr Pedram's oratorical skills to be significant,
although the reality is that he is a mere failure, and this has been quite obvious from the very
beginning.

 What the esteemed general is advocating as the demands of people in the county's northern
areas, and what he has hired a group of stubborn, obstinate and vicious people to achieve, are
in fact his own interests, because he is lagging behind the convoy.

 In view of the approximate population statistics and the number of voters from different tribes
in the north, the fact there are eight ministers from the northern areas in the new cabinet is
sufficient proof that they have achieved their rights in the national participation process. The
fact that these ministers are not members of the parties of Mr Dostum and Mr Pedram is a
different matter, but it is impossible to ignore their race and tribe and say that they do not
belong to these tribes.

 The esteemed general and his partners should not play with the emotions of the noble people
of this land, who have suffered tyranny and oppression over long years in the past because of


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the selfishness and rivalry for power of him and people like him.

 The esteemed general should be grateful that the governments since the collapse of the
Taliban have not allowed this long-suffering nation to hold accountable the people who
infringed upon their rights and killed their sons. These governments did not even succeed in
recognizing warlords, war criminals and those who fan the flames.

 Our suggestion to Mr Dostum at this point in time is that now that the government authorities
have avoided holding anyone accountable and have made no distinction between innocent
people and sinful people, lets unite rather than encourage divisions. Perhaps in this way we
may make the omnipotent God happy, and secure our world and the hereafter. Let's serve the
people and try legal and appropriate methods to obtain our rights if they are not given to us

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AE2 FBIS (Cheragh paper, Kabul)
13 January 2005
Headline: Afghan Weekly Examines Factors behind Possible Delay of Parliamentary
Elections

 As Afghan President Hamed Karzai's new cabinet settles in, the government's attention is
focusing on Afghanistan's upcoming parliamentary election. The stability challenges connected
with the parliamentary vote are far greater than December's presidential election [as received,
the presidential election was held on 9 October], observers say.

 The parliamentary vote is now planned for early spring. The 7 December presidential
election, won handily by Karzai, was marked by far less turmoil and violence than many
observers had expected.

 This fact, though, has not seemed to ease concerns about the Afghan government's ability to
ensure a stable parliamentary vote. A 5 January analysis published in the English newspaper
said Karzai's political enemies, in particular the warlords, who continue to dominate
Afghanistan's provinces, view the parliamentary vote as a crucial opportunity for stopping
Karzai's political momentum. Accordingly, warlords are mobilizing all forces at all their
disposal to influence the voting results in their respective regions, hoping to frustrate Karzai's
campaign to extend the central government's authority.

 The president, a Pashtun, generated hard feelings among the country's sizable Tajik
community by excluding several powerful Tajik political leaders from his cabinet, including
former Defense Minister Mohammad (Qasem) Fahim and former Education Minister Yunos
Qanuni.

 Of the Tajik leaders, who were prominent in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and who
joined Karzai in forming an interim government in 1991, only Dr Abdollah Abdollah now
remains in the president's cabinet, continuing on as foreign minister.

 Tension has long simmered between Karzai and Tajik leaders, underscored by Qanuni's
candidacy in the presidential election. (For background see the Eurasia Insight archive)
(Brackets as published)

 But the cabinet's composition indicates that a full break has occurred between Qanuni and
Fahim on the one hand and Karzai on the other. Qanuni reportedly sought his old post as
education minister only to be rebuffed by Karzai, a brother of the Tajik leader, Ibrahim
Qanuni, told EurasiaNet. Some observers now believe that interethnic divisions may once
again become a major factor in Afghan politics.

 In addition to the growing political challenges to Karzai's administration, officials believe that
Islamic radical forces are regrouping with the intent of making a renewed push to sow disorder
in Afghanistan.




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 Taliban forces have been on the defensive in recent weeks after suffering a severe public-
relations blow over the movement's failure to disrupt the presidential election.

  Islamic militant raids are continuing, although in one recent action in southern Zabol Province
five Taliban fighters were killed before being repulsed by government troops.

 Given Karzai's lagging influence in many provinces along with the ongoing Taliban
insurgency, some experts and politicians in Kabul are suggesting that the parliamentary
elections be postponed until the summer.

 The extra time would give the central government space to improve the quality of its own
armed forces while pressing ahead with the disarmament of warlord-controlled military units,
thus increasing the odds that stability could be maintained during an election campaign.

 In the months leading up to the parliamentary election, Karzai's cabinet will be under pressure
to produce tangible economic and social gains. If it doesn't, pro-presidential candidates could
suffer at the ballot box.

 When he unveiled his cabinet, Karzai portrayed its members as apolitical technocrats
dedicated to making immediate improvements for all Afghans regardless of political affiliation
and ethnicity.

 "The people of Afghanistan have big experience from all of us, and in your faces I see the
desire to realize the hope of the Afghan people for a better Afghanistan," Karzai told his
ministers at a 27 December cabinet session. Despite Karzai's claims about the apolitical nature
of the cabinet, some of his lieutenants have strong partisan political ties.

 In addition, prominent warlord Esmail Khan, a power-broker of western Herat Province has
been brought to Kabul to server as energy minister.

 Some observers believe Karzai brought Khan into the cabinet in order to keep close tabs on
him.

 Militia units loyal to Khan battled with government forces in 204 for control of Herat.

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AR4 BBC Monitoring (Arman-e Melli paper, Kabul)
13 January 2005
Headline: Afghan paper says heavy artillery to be collected from mojahedin stronghold

The transfer of heavy artillery from Panjsher Province north of Kabul to Kabul started
yesterday. Reports received from Panjsher Province do not give details about the kind of
agreement that has been reached on the collection of heavy artillery from the province, but the
UN efforts to convince commanders to turn in their weapons have always provided for political
and material privileges for them.

Panjsher was one of the important mojahedin bases during the wars of the past two decades
which became a centre of heavy and light artillery. Particularly, after 1375 1996 , large
amounts of heavy artillery, such as Oregon and Scud missile launchers, armoured vehicles and
ammunition, were left there by the mojahedin.

After the Taleban collapse in 1381, the central government - in cooperation with the United
Nation - began the disarmament process to extend its control across Afghanistan. Only 8,000
heavy artillery pieces have so far been collected throughout the country. The Shutal area of
Panjsher Province is the last area where collection of heavy arms, such as the long-range
Oregon missiles and other kinds of artillery, began.

A spokesman for the UN political mission UNAMA says: The process of transfer of heavy
artillery from Panjsher to Kabul will take two weeks, but collection of these arms will require
more time.

Discussions on transfer of heavy artillery from Panjsher have been under way for quite a long
period of time.

There are reports that about 110 different kinds of heavy arms will be transferred from
Panjsher to Kabul.

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AR7 Reuters
13 January 2005
Headline: Jaw-jaw better than war-war for Afghan opposition

KABUL, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Once upon a time in Afghan politics when those who lost out in
the struggle for power reached for their guns, now the losers in last year's presidential polls are
instead preparing for this year's parliamentary elections.

     President Hamid Karzai, who emerged from the obscurity of exile with U.S. backing three
years ago, won Afghanistan's first ever presidential poll in October, luring voters with the
promise of stability after decades of conflict.

     But the powerful faction leaders who stayed and fought the Soviets, the Taliban and often
each other are still a force in the rugged and often unruly country and would be unhappy to be
completely sidelined from the political process.

      "After the success of the presidential elections ... forming a new parliament is the second
step, it is a useful and positive step for reinforcing democracy in Afghanistan." said Yunus
Qanuni, the runner-up in the presidential election.

      Qanuni and other mujahideen commanders have swapped their battle fatigues for smart
suits, but while a U.N-sponsored disarmament programme has taken away most of their heavy
weapons, thousands of fiercely loyal supporters still have their guns.

     Some are upset the pro-Western Karzai, from the traditionally dominant Pashtun ethnic
group that also spawned the Taliban, has excluded minority Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras from
top security and economy posts in his new cabinet announced last month.

     "The ministries of defence and interior are both run by Pashtuns, the other two key
ministries of finance and commerce are also run by Pashtuns," said Mohammad Mohaqiq,
leader of Hizb-e Wahdat, whose vote bank is the Shi'ite, Hazara ethnic group.


    "All the main key ministries are run by one ethnic group, so I don't see a balanced
development in the future," he told Reuters. "They want to Pashtunise power in the country."

     Karzai has also tried to reach out to rank-and-file Taliban still at large and settle them
back into normal life. That would strengthen his support in the Pashtun, former Taliban,
heartlands in the south and east, but worry non-Pashtuns in the north.

      For a country deeply polarised by political, ethnic and regional feuds, more used to
battling than debating, such resentments can be dangerous if bottled up.

     There lies the importance of the parliament, analysts say, as a vent for those not in power,
to give a voice to those who did not vote for the president and provide a check on his powers.



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      First due in June last year, parliamentary elections were postponed till April this year and
are already behind schedule again. Some diplomats say it could be as late as July before they
finally get off the ground.

     While Karzai has promised the polls will be held as soon as possible, diplomats fear a
prolonged postponement could undermine the legitimacy of his government, as the president's
cabinet choices need parliament's approval.

     Karzai's opponents formed what they called a United Front to fight the presidential
elections, but it was anything but united and each candidate got only a fraction of the
president's vote.

     But in the new parliament, the three main opposition parties of Qanuni, Hizb-e Wahdat
and the Uzbek party, together with a likely high number of independents, will all gain seats.

     "The stakes are higher this time round," said an Afghan-based diplomat. "Because
together the opposition can form powerful block that could make life very difficult for the
government."

      That prospect has for now bound the opposition into the system instead of sending them
into the hills for another bout of rebellion. "It has given them a role," the diplomat said.
"Otherwise they could have caused trouble again."


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AR9 paktribune.com (Pakistan)
13 January 2005
Headline: UN programme to contain heavy weapons temporarily interrupted

DASHTAK, January 13 (Online): A UN-backed programme to contain heavy weapons in the
northern Panjshir Valley has been temporarily interrupted by local ex-militia groups who
threatened to block the valley if the process continued.

The incident happened here the other day in Dashtak district, about 100 km north of the capital,
Kabul, a day after the UN and the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MOD) officially launched the
cantonment of heavy weapons in Panjshir, already delayed by several weeks after prolonged
negotiations.

Panjshir is the former stronghold of Northern Alliance forces, who helped the US-led coalition
topple the hard-line Taliban regime in December 2001.

Hundreds of heavy weapons such as tanks, multiple rocket launchers and field artillery are still
held by varying local militia forces in the valley, which first experienced war at the time of the
Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

According to the Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme (ANBP), that coordinates
disarmament and weapons collection in Afghanistan, more than 95 percent of the heavy
weapons in the country have been collected since the process began in early January 2004. The
process of containing the arms is now complete in five regions, with almost 8,000 items
collected so far.

But, according to estimates, there are some 110 heavy weapons in the Panjshir Valley yet to be
collected. So far, four artillery pieces and one armoured personnel carrier have been
successfully cantoned in the northern city of Jabal Seraj.

"The heavy weapons identified in Panjshir Valley constitute the majority of those assessments
still outstanding in the nationwide cantonment of HW (heavy weapons)," Jesko Johannsen, an
information officer for the ANBP told.

Those protesting against the process on Tuesday told that they were ex-Jehadi officers who had
seized the weapons from the Russians and the Taliban over the past two decades and now
demanded salaries and privileges from the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MOD) to sustain their
families.

"The MOD promised us that they would pay our salaries before they collected these weapons
that we collected and saved with our blood over the past two decades," Mohammad Qayoum, a
local militiaman told.

Meanwhile, others warned that there was still the risk of further conflict in the area and that
they would need the weapons to protect the valley. "Who can guarantee that there will not be



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further conflicts? These weapons are like our dignity," dozens of unarmed angry men shouted
as they tried to stop the process.

But after half a day's delay, the collection process resumed after local authorities deployed
dozens of police along the route of the valley and the area of heavy weapons collection.

Faqir Ahmad, chief of police in Panjshir, told Online that he expected such reaction and had
already notified the MOD. "I told General Besmellah (the MOD chief of staff) that they should
completely convince these people first and meet their requirements," he said, adding that all
proper measures had now been taken for the process to resume.

It is expected the surveyed heavy weapons in Panjshir will be collected over the next two
weeks.

3 Ex-Afghan commanders surrender arms

Three former Afghan commanders have voluntarily laid down arms to the government.

The coalition forces spokesman told VoA that three commanders of the Taliban regime have
surrendered their arms to the coalition forces in Paktika province.

He said that both heavy and light arms were laid down to the government.

It is pertinent to mention here that the coalition forces spokesman has for the first time
confirmed shifting of heavy arms to the coalition forces bases.

Meanwhile, the Khost provincial officials reported that provincial police have foiled four bomb
attacks bids.

The Khost province police chief General Muhammad Zaman told VoA that police have
defused a land mine planted in front of the house of the Khost governor.

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ALM6a Program summary of Afghan Kabul TV news in Dari

A. News headline

B. Home news

1. 0:00:40 President Hamed Karzai received representatives of the people of Daikondi
Province today. The representatives spoke about their regional plights with him. Karzai
promised to address their problems. (Video shows the meeting)

2. 0:01:28 Hamed Karzai examined credentials of the new Norwegian ambassador to
Afghanistan today. The ambassador said he would work to boost friendly relations between the
two countries. (Video shows the ambassador inspecting the guard of honour, handing over his
credentials to Karzai, shaking hands)

3. 0:02:26 Hamed Karzai's message on the third anniversary of the death of Commander Abdol
Haq. (No video)

4. 0:04:34 Hamed Karzai has sent a message of congratulation to Mahmud Abbas on his
election as the president of the Palestinian National Authority. (No video)

5. 0:05:38 Foreign Minister Dr Abdollah has sent a message of congratulation to Mahmud
Abbas on his election as the president of Palestine. (No video)

6. 0:05:52 Hamed Karzai's decree about the fortification of the banks of the Amu River. (No
video)

7. 0:06:35 Hamed Karzai's decree about the establishment of a consultative board on legal and
judicial affairs. (No video)

8. 0:07:33 Heavy snow and rain have destroyed some agricultural land in Yaftal District of
Badakhshan Province. (No video)

9. 0:08:17 Vice-President Ahmad Zia Masud received the Turkish ambassador to Afghanistan
today. They discussed security for the parliamentary elections. The ambassador said Turkey
would take the command of the ISAF in Afghanistan in the near future. (Video shows the
meeting)

10. 0:09:30 Vice-President Mohammad Karim Khalili received the governor and the public
representatives of Ghazni Province today. They discussed regional plights and government
plans for the improvement of the people's life. (Video shows the meeting)

11. 0:10:44 National Defence Minister Gen Abdorrahim Wardak received a delegation of the
Dutch parliament today. They discussed acceleration of the Disarmament, Demobilization and
Reintegration programme. (Video shows the meeting) (PROCESSING)




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12. 0:11:25 Labour and Social Affairs Minister Dr Sayed Ekramoddin Masumi met the charge
d'affaires of the UAE embassy in Kabul today. They discussed ways of training illiterate young
Afghans. (Video shows the meeting)

13. 0:12:05 Higher Education Minister Dr Sayed Amir Shah Hasanyar visited the Al Biruni
University in Kapisa Province today. The TV correspondent reports about the visit. A part of
his remarks about the purpose of his visit was aired on the TV. (Video shows the minister and a
number of other officials addressing a gathering, distributing certificates to the graduates of the
university)

14. 0:14:15 The last group of the Afghan pilgrims flew to Mecca today. A part of the remarks
by Nematollah Shahrani, the minister of endowment and Islamic affairs, about the flights were
aired on TV. (Video shows the pilgrims embarking on a plane, Shahrani speaking to the
pilgrims inside the plane)

15. 0:17:40 Officials of the National Security Department have discovered an ammunition
dump in Wardag Province. (Video shows missiles, mines, bullets) (PROCESSING)

16. 0:18:43 National Security Department officials have discovered some arms and
ammunitions in Paghman District of Kabul Province. (Video shows the ammunitions)

C. Announcements

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