Afghanistan: November 7, 2002


  The government is working out a deal with the warlords from the Northern Alliance to integrate many of their armed men into a new army, and offer cash payments to others to disarm. The national army will be no larger than 70,000 men, mainly because government officials don't believe there will be money to support any more than that. So far, forming army units has been complicated by many recruits not being able to handle the discipline, or not being satisfied with the low pay. There are also continuing arguments over which tribe or ethnic group will supply how many officers for the army. The officers get paid more, and also have the opportunity (often taken) to steal money meant for their troops or military operations. Many Afghans do not consider this theft, but rather more like a business opportunity, something only an idiot would pass up.


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