Afghanistan: November 17, 2003


The UN shut down refugee aid operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan after the murder of  a French UN worker over the weekend. Taliban militants have been threatening, and attacking, foreign aid workers in the east and south. Several groups in these areas, including the drug gangs, don't want any foreigners in their neighborhood.

In the northern city of Gardez, 600 men turned in their weapons. In return they receive money and other aid. No one knows if these arrangements will keep these men disarmed. While the surrendered weapons will be destroyed, not all weapons will be surrendered and there are still a lot of weapons for sale, cheap, in the country.

In the southeast, American troops killed five armed men who were not Afghans. These are thought to be al Qaeda and more of them are being encountered along the border. This apparently indicates that al Qaeda members who fled to Pakistan in late 2001 are not trying to come back into Afghanistan. This is either because they are trying to set up camps in Afghanistan, or are feeling the heat from Pakistani army and police raids. Or both.


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