UN to launch disarmament programme Friday in Afghanistan

23 October 2003

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is set to officially launch tomorrow a disarmament campaign that has already had some measure of success.

According to a UNAMA dispatch from the capital Kabul, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, Friday will help launch a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme in the northern province of Kunduz.

Pilot phases of the programme started Monday, the UNAMA statement said, and by the end of the day on Wednesday 900 men had been disarmed.

Some 300 combatants a day have been disarmed at the Mobile Disarmament Units run by Afghanistan’s New Beginnings Programme (ANBP) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The Regional Verification Committee (RVC) has been working at the site to check the names and details of each combatant, UNAMA said.

“In interviews the soldiers said they were glad to be returning to civilian life and many had known of nothing else than being a soldier. They said they were looking forward to their new life and all of those we talked to wanted peace for Afghanistan,” UNAMA said.

Yesterday, Mr. Brahimi told, a meeting of governors, police chiefs and corps commanders from throughout the country, “I don’t have to tell you but the support of the international community is 100 per cent behind you in trying to consolidate peace and stability, and in trying to show the spoilers that they have no future in Afghanistan.”

Speaking at the opening of a two-day national security seminar at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brahimi said, “This country has a central government that is recognized all over the country. The problem is that the central government does not have the means to exercise that power. Things are getting better. But at the same time we have to also accept and see that there are spoilers, there are people who have more interest in the existence of the problem than in the solution.”

The UNAMA spokesman also said that registration of delegates for the Constitutional Loya Jirga, the traditional meeting of Afghan leadership, has now been completed in 26 of Afghanistan’s 32 provinces. The Loya Jirga will be charged with writing the country’s new constitution.

 

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