From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 11:04:50 -0600
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: We felt safer under Taliban, say Kabul residents


We felt safer under Taliban, say Kabul residents

AFP via HINDUSTAN TIMES, January 25, 2002

AFP Kabul: Just 10 weeks after the Taliban fled Kabul city, Afghans are
already starting to say they felt safer under the now-defeated hardline
militia than under the power-sharing interim administration that has
replaced it. 

Murders, robberies and hijackings in the capital, factional clashes in the
north and south of the country, instability in Kandahar and banditry on
roads linking main centres are beginning to erode the optimism that greeted
the inauguration of the interim administration on December 22.

Senior United Nations official Francesc Vendrell said there were "reasons
for concern" over the security situation in Afghanistan. "There are hundreds
of thousands of people with weapon," said Vendrell, deputy to the UN special
envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi.

He said the situation in the south of the country was still "unclear" and it
could take up to 30,000 international troops to secure the main towns and
cities and the potholed tracks that pass as highways in the war-battered
country. 

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is limited to 4,500
troops and restricted to the Kabul area to protect the new interim
government during its six-month lifespan. In Kabul, where a night-time
curfew is still in place, shots and explosions are often heard after dark.
Residents reported three people murdered on Wednesday alone.

Last week "an incendiary device" exploded against one of the walls
surrounding the tightly guarded United States Embassy in Kabul, spokesman
John Kincannon said, adding that no damage was caused.

Diplomatic sources in Kabul said there was a definite increase in
instability in Kabul. "This is clear," said one diplomat, who added that
there are around 700,000 armed people in Afghanistan. "They have the culture
of the Kalashnikov. They don't want to lay down their arms."

Some parts of the capital have become no-go zones while residents everywhere
were careful to lock their doors at night. "People don't feel safe, so they
welcome the presence of ISAF," the diplomat said.

Kabul police chief Abdul Basir Khan Salangi denied there was insecurity in
the city, saying those claiming the opposite were "enemies and those who
want to defame the government".

He said the Afghan police force was in total control of the situation.
Salangi acknowledged, however that he was only "about 10 percent" satisfied
with security in the capital and that his force had only 10 to 12 patrol
vehicles, when it needed about 250.

Security concerns in other parts of the country were heightened this week
when Syed Noorullah, deputy to ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam,
said fighting had erupted in recent days around Qala-e-Zal, 60 kms northwest
of Kunduz. 

An intelligence service source said on Thursday two rival tribal leaders in
the southeastern city of Khost were engaged in a power struggle which
threatened to erupt into open fighting.



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