|Kabul: 12:55 PM      |
Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a
number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your
own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the
reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.
Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
Heavy weapons still a strong presence in Kabul (Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press Heavy weapons threaten peace in Afghan capital, says Canadian general 05:33 PM EDT Sep 24 STEPHEN THORNE KABUL (CP) - More than 300 illegal heavy weapons systems are threatening the peace in Afghanistan's capital and it's time they were removed, the deputy commander of the NATO peacekeeping force said Wednesday. The artillery pieces, rocket launchers, large missiles, tanks and armoured personnel carriers belong to warlords who entered the city after the Taliban regime fell in 2001, said Canadian Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie. "None of it is part of the Afghan National Army," Leslie said in an interview. "A functioning capital city . . . has no need of tanks scattered about (or) rocket launchers within thousands of metres of the presidential palace. "Perhaps it is time for the various owners of these heavy weapons systems to consider moving them to cantonment sites outside of Kabul." Under the agreement by which the International Security Assistance Force was created, militia forces and their heavy weapons systems were to be removed more than a year ago, before peacekeepers entered the city. President Hamid Karzai issued a decree, with the force of law, last December banishing heavy weapons systems from the city, a move Leslie says would be a critical first step. The 46-year-old general said militarization of Kabul poses a major concern for the 31-country NATO force, to which Canada is contributing 1,950 troops. He said the various owners of the equipment have shown no inclination to withdraw it. "Perhaps we should be focused on moving the heavy weapons outside of Kabul because they serve no purpose inside Kabul," said Leslie. "Why on earth would you want a city of over three million people to have hundreds and hundreds of heavy weapons scattered in sites all across the city when they serve no useful purpose?" If they do serve a purpose, he said, then "that purpose must be contrary to the ISAF mission, which is to establish a secure and stable environment." Leslie does not advocate seizure of the systems, only their removal from the city and deposit at cantonment sites, or areas assigned to troops. He said such a move would set an example for other urban centres across the country and bring home the point that there is a "functioning, legitimate authority" that can resolve issues peacefully. Canadian and other ISAF troops could serve as verifiers of the withdrawal, monitoring its progress and thoroughness, he said. Attempts to disarm Afghanistan's feuding warlords and demilitarize the capital have stalled several times, mainly because of the reluctance of powerful Defence Minister Mohammed Fahim. Fahim, an ethnic Tajik, has also refused so far to ease his grip on large parts of Kabul - a prize that fell into his hands after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in 2001. The agreement in Bonn ordered all Afghan soldiers who entered the capital after the Taliban's collapse, mainly ethnic Tajiks loyal to Fahim, to leave Kabul before the deployment of international peacekeepers. That never happened. Leslie said the systems are also distributed among Pashtuns and, to a lesser degree, Hazars. A new 70,000-strong national army is expected to eventually fill the gap left by the militia fighters, but training has been slow and the force now has only slightly more than 5,000 troops. The slow pace of disarmament, battling warlords and recent Taliban and al-Qaida attacks on Afghan police, officials and aid workers in the south and the east have raised fresh doubts about the Karzai government's grip on the country. "The overall security situation in Afghanistan is not getting any better," Leslie said. "Here in Kabul, it's a great deal better." Last week, NATO ordered its military experts to draw up plans for its peacekeepers to expand their deployment outside the capital into other parts of Afghanistan. The move could help extend the government's authority in 32 Afghan provinces and ease the burden on 11,500 American troops fighting Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents. While acknowledging their importance, Leslie lamented the fact that pending demilitarization and demobilization efforts will focus initially on small arms. "Rifles, even automatic rifles, are dangerous in that they can kill people," he said. "But heavy weapons can kill societies." © The Canadian Press, 2003
Posted By: mariam   October 5th 2003, 2003 1:57 PM
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.