Afghanistan: February 23, 2002


U.S. army bomb disposal troops (the 710th Ordnance Company) have arrived and are helping in the removal of mines and unexploded weapons. There are several hundred such troops from the U.S., Jordan and Norway working around Kabul. The peacekeeping force now comprises 4,300 troops and more patrols are conducted throughout the city. The foreign peacekeepers appear to be quite popular with the population, if only because the foreigners are neutral and not corrupt.

The central government has said that it will not hesitate to call in U.S. armed forces (ground and air) and peacekeepers to deal with uncooperative warlords. This has already happened, as U.S. bombers were used to assist pro-government troops against not-so-pro-government militias. 

Special chemical troops are investigating several Taliban and al Qaeda facilities that apparently were involved in developing chemical and biological weapons. 

U.S. officials say America will stay in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes" and may put as many as 30,000 troops on the ground to maintain order until the central government can form a new army and national police (a process that may take several years.)


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