Afghanistan: May 23, 2002

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Because of increasing tensions between India and Pakistan over terrorism and Kashmir, Pakistan is withdrawing most of it's troops from the tribal areas along the Afghan border. This will leave it to the U.S. special forces and CIA to continue the search for Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in the frontier area. 

France has agreed to train two battalions of the new Afghan army and is sending 55 instructors to do this. One of the interesting aspects of building the new Afghan army is that more than half a dozen nations are providing instructors and it appears that each of the battalions trained will have a slightly different outlook on military operations. This is because each nation, even the members of NATO that are providing this training, have subtle, and not so subtle, differences in how they train and fight. So there will be "American", "Turk," "British" and "French" battalions in the Afghan army, depending on who trained them. The 80,000 man armed forces will have 60,000 men in the army, 8,000 in the air force and 12,000 in the border guards. It is estimated that it will cost $250-300 million to pay for establishing the new armed forces. 

Fighting continues in the north between different ethnic warlords, with another six dead near Kunduz. 

The warlord holding several thousand Taliban prisoners in the north has released another 500 captives. 

 

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