Afghanistan: January 10, 2002

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The warlord running Kandahar said he was not defying the central government by releasing eight Taliban officials. The Kandahar leaders said they would hold any Taliban officials who were wanted, but they needed names. All this is a bit of good news, as the central government is really in no position to order around the major warlords running the western provinces around Herat, the Pushtun areas around Kandahar and Tajik lands in the north around Mazar-I-Sharif. 

The government ordered all armed men in Kabul (except the police) to either surrender their weapons, go home to their villages to move to barracks outside the city. Crime has been rampant in the city, most of it committed by armed guys with non-Kabul accents. There have also been a lot of freelance check points and extortion rackets. In addition to the Kabul crime problem, banditry continues in the countryside, as well as little turf wars between rival tribes and warlords.

There are now over a thousand foreign peacekeepers in Kabul.

U.S. bombers and gun ships continued to hit Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Paktia province (along the Pakistan border, between Kabul and Kandahar.)

 

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