Afghanistan: April 8, 2005

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About 40,000 warlord gunmen have been demobilized, and various programs are afoot to provide them with training and jobs, including access to slots in the police and army for those who qualify. In addition to reducing the power of local warlords, the demobilization of these gunmen brings significant financial benefits to the government, which has been subsidizing these warlord "militias". Every thousand militiamen demobilized saves the central government nearly $2 million, which can then be spent on infrastructure and economic development.

The Taliban's "Spring Offensive" seems to be an effort to retain some credibility. Although the recent spate of attacks has attracted attention, none of them have been significant in terms of harming the hold of the central government. Almost all of them have been in remote areas, and even when a police station or administrative building has been captured, government troops and militiamen have been quick to take it back.

A lot of NGOs, journalists, business people, and reps of international organizations have hired private security firms to protect them while working in Afghanistan. As the new Afghan police forces are getting organized, tensions leave arisen between them and the private security firms, as the police are asserting their right to be the agent for security for everyone in the country. Some of this has to do with national sensitivity and the increasing professionalization of the Afghan police. And then theres the potential for some lucrative graft.

 

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