Afghanistan: August 8, 2002


 Australian commandos seized mortars, machine-guns and munitions in eastern Afghanistan. These men, and other commandos of Task Force 11 continue to patrol eastern, southern and central Afghanistan looking for al Qaeda and Taliban forces. The commandos regularly take fire from hostile tribesmen in the back country.

Warlords in southeast Afghanistan continue to defy the central government and dare them to disarm them. The southeast is a Pushtun area that is deep into the drug and smuggling business.

In the north, a combination of pleas, bribes and threats have convinced local warlords to surrender hundreds of weapons (although thousands remain.) 

The government says Taliban leader Mullah Omar has been spotted several times in central Afghanistan, and is apparently constantly on the run. Anyone who would turn Omar in could collect rewards totaling millions  of dollars. This appears to have some effect, plus several hundred commandos combing the hills. 

The only work for a lot of young men is signing up with some warlord. The pay isn't much, you get a few bucks a month, food and a gun. While there is some danger of getting killed, there is also the possibility of rape and plunder.

Sniping and rocket attacks (using small rockets) on US bases continue, particularly in south and east Afghanistan.


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