Afghanistan: June 17, 2002

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The members of the Loya Jirga are upset at who is being appointed to key jobs the new government. Part of this is the lack of elections for more officials (although the appointed officials are for jobs that are normally appointed, not elected) and which ethnic group gets what. In particular, the Pushtuns, the largest minority (about 40 percent of Afghans) are unhappy with the number of non-Pushtuns getting jobs. There is also no agreement on how to form a new parliament and what powers it would have. Afghanistan has never had a democracy, so progress will be difficult.
In the last week, allied troops searching eastern Afghanistan have found 30 Chinese made shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles (copies of older Russian designs). These missiles are not much of a problem for war planes, but can seriously damage some types of helicopters and civilian transports.

Criminal gangs in eastern Afghanistan are becoming more of a problem for the local and central government, as well as allied troops searching for Taliban and al Qaeda. The gangs want to control trucking, smuggling and the drug trade. The gangs use guns and bombs to decide who shall control what, and allied troops are sometimes caught in the middle. 

 

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