Warlords will be forced to disarm: Kabul

Agence France Presse

Kabul, February 13:

Afghanistan’s defence ministry warned today that the proces of disarming the warlords would be carried forward to completion. The ministry warned that who fail to disarm and disband their private armies will be forced to do so.

According to figures available with the Afghan government, so far, 38,887 militiamen have laid down their arms as part of a United Nations Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme. However, the problem is yet to be solved completely because certain factions and commanders have resisted giving up their weapons.

“The Afghan defence ministry warns those commanders who have not had good cooperation with the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration process,” said ministry spokesman General Mohammed Zahir Azimi.

“We warn them to start their sincere cooperation with the process, otherwise their concessions will be withdrawn and they will be disarmed as part of the soon-to-begin general weapons collection process,” he added.

The United Nations programme gives private militia commanders of officer rank $350 to 650 pensions per month plus concessions for their men which include cash, vocational training and loans for small businesses.

So far, 33,352 former fighters have begun a re-integration package which gives them vocational training such as teacher training, agriculture, small business skills and de-mining. Much of the country is awash with arms and many regions are under the sway of local militia commanders after 23 years of war.