Afghanistan: February 3, 2002


There was a brief (an hour or so) battle between Uzbek and Tajik troops in the northern city of Mazar-I-Sharif. The fighting was blamed on a personal feud. 

While the interim government is calling for 30,000 foreign peacekeepers, the UN doubts that foreign nations would be willing to provide that many. Aside from the expense, there are the unknowns of peacekeeping in a nation with so many armed men and a history of hostility to foreigners with guns.

NATO has agreed that Turkey will take over from Britain the leadership of the peacekeeping force in the capital. Turkey is also taking the lead, with Britain, in training Afghanistan's new army. The Turks are well respected in Afghanistan. The Turks are seen as even handed and modern Moslems who will deal fairly with the different ethnic groups (including the Turkic Uzbeks.) The Brits are also respected, despite (or perhaps because of) the many wars fought between Britain and Afghans before British colonial forces left in the late 1940s. 


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