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12.2007 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Progress on the not yet completed disarmament of illegal armed groups ("UNHCR's Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Afghan Asylum-Seekers") [ID 22557]
"The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process of the Afghan Militia Forces (AMF) was completed on June 2006. This process included the safe removal and cantonment of over 10,880 heavy weapons. Cities such as Gardez, Mazar-e Sharif and Bamyan are now largely free of operational heavy weapons. The cantonment of these weapons, coupled with the demobilization of Afghan militia forces, has reduced opportunities for factions to engage in clashes of the scope and intensity that affected the Northern provinces in the period 2002-2004, and the Western provinces in 2006.
In July 2004, through Presidential Decree No. 50, the remnants of the AMF and armed groups, not part of the AMF, were declared illegal. It was estimated that there could be up to 120,000 persons operating in over 1,800 illegal armed groups. By targeting these groups, the disbandment of illegal armed groups (DIAG) aims to contribute to the re-establishment of the rule of law through the promotion of good governance.
However, the disarmament of illegal armed groups is very much incomplete. Piloted during the run-up to the parliamentary and provincial council elections in 2005, its main phase was launched between 1 May and 7 June 2006. From September 2006 to 25 February 2007, only 4,496 light and heavy weapons had been submitted. By the end of 2006, illegal armed groups in just three districts of the five-targeted provinces were deemed by the Disbandment Joint Secretariat (the body overseeing the DIAG programme) to have complied with the programme’s objectives. The pace of weapons submission and overall disbandment compliance, particularly in the north, was thought to have suffered from the overall deterioration of the security situation. In response to stalled implementation, a joint review of the disarmament programme was undertaken by key stakeholders. The recommendations of the review were reflected into an action plan, which President Karzai endorsed on 7 February 2007. The plan attempts to put new impetus in the disarmament process in part by giving the national security adviser a ministerial coordination and reporting role and the Ministry of the Interior the lead role in the implementation of the disarmament programme."
23.02.2005 - Source: International Crisis Group
Analysis of progress and failure in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of armed forces crucial to creating the conditions for the Karzai government to extend its authority throughout the country and for establishing the rule of law ("Afghanistan: Getting Disarmament Back on Track") [#29268], [ID 847]
"The process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of forces is crucial to creating the conditions for the Karzai government to extend its authority throughout the country and for establishing the rule of law, but its ultimate fate is still very uncertain. Thus far it has helped decommission or reduce most of the officially recognised militia units in Afghanistan, and with the support of the Coalition and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), has collected the bulk of their heavy weaponry. But it has failed:
- to make significant inroads in disarming the powerful Tajik-dominated units in Kabul and the Panjshir;
- to keep pace with the evolving nature of Afghanistan's militia structures, many of which have found a new lease on life as police forces or private militias associated with governors or district administrators; and
- to tackle the threat posed by unofficial militias, which are outside the mandate of the current DDR program and are maintained by most contending regional and local forces, including registered political parties."
07.01.2005 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
North Afghanistan: disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process is completed, thousands of illegal weapons remain in the region ("Disarmament Completed in the North") [#28066], [ID 848]
"Militias like the 7th and 8th Corps had been part of the Afghan Militia Forces, but are not part of the newly emerging Afghan National Army. Though they technically fell under the control of the ministry of defence, they also ware typically affiliated with particular political parties or factions.
In place of the two corps, the government has created two new national army units.
Now, 6,171 former militia members have relinquished their arms under the United Nations' Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration, DDR, programme.
Dr Kamal Amini, in charge of DDR in the north, said about 90 per cent of the men have undergone training to learn such skills as de-mining, tailoring, carpentry and mechanics.
Amini said that the DDR process is now completed in the north.
But while the two militias have formally been disbanded and many of its members retrained for civilian jobs, thousands of illegal weapons remain in the region.
General Zahir Azimi, spokesman for Afghanistan's defence ministry, told IWPR that there is no current plan to collect these weapons. [...]
Azimi acknowledged that, given the large number of uncollected weapons in the area, the police may have a hard time establishing security.
"The national police force and the national army are still in their formative days,” he said.
The north is the first zone in Afghanistan where the DDR process has been completed. The programme is still under way in six additional provinces - Kunduz, Jalalabad, Paktia, Kandahar, Herat and Bamyan. When the process concludes in June, 100,000 militia members are due to have given up their weapons.
So far, only 30,000 militia members have completed the process.
However, General Azimi is confident the June deadline will be met. [...]
And some of those who have participated in the disarmament programme warn that if they are not provided jobs as they were promised soon, they could take up arms once again."
21.09.2004 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network
More than 2,000 soldiers disarmed in just 2 weeks; according to Ministry of Defence political parties have been told to cooperate with disarmament programme or they will not be registered ("Disarmament accelerated as elections approach") [#25690], [ID 849]
11.07.2004 - Source: ReliefWeb
5 people were killed when a bomb went off in Herat as officials launched a disarmament drive ("Five killed by bomb as western Afghan city launches disarmament drive (AFP)") [#24017], [ID 850]
30.03.2004 - Source: International Crisis Group
Disarmament and reintegration programs going slowly ("Elections and security in Afghanistan") [#20875], [ID 851]
"[...] DR programs to cut down the many militias around the country are going slowly. The proposed establishment of new Special Forces-led militia units (Afghanistan Guard Forces, AGF) would cut across those programs, providing a disincentive to DR. There is, moreover, no publicly disclosed plan for the eventual disarmament and demobilisation of the AGF. The hazards in the AGF concept include increasing the authority and armament of militia commanders as well as potential command and control problems. [...]"
19.03.2004 - Source: UN General Assembly
Voluntary disarmament successful but still falls short of expectations ("The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security A/58/742–S/2004/230") [#20724], [ID 852]
"[...] 24. The voluntary disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme has shown some success but fallen short of expectations. As at 6 March 2004, a total of 5,373 ex-soldiers or officers have been demobilized since the pilot process started in October, 1,870 of them in Kabul. The experience of the pilot disarmament, demobilization and reintegration projects in Kondoz, Gardez, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul is being reviewed by the Afghan Transitional Administration, Japan as lead nation, UNAMA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to see whether improvements can be made. The review revealed a series of shortcomings typical in demobilization operations, including the handing in of old weapons and the demobilization of part-timers and “reservists” as opposed to full-time members of active units. Lack of political will on the part of factional leaders was also apparent, as evidenced in the go-slow approach of General Dostum in the north. A worrying pattern has been the widespread extortion of demobilized soldiers by local commanders, which led the Afghan New Beginnings Programme to stop severance payments to soldiers as part of the overall reintegration package. The pilot projects implemented to date have shown the need for more political engagement at high levels of government to pave the way for more significant disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. [...]"
11.03.2004 - Source: ReliefWeb
Afghanistan to launch a campaign to disarm 100,000 ex-fighters ahead of landmark summer elections ("Afghanistan to begin disarming 100,000 militiamen ahead of landmark polls (AFP)") [#20356], [ID 853]
"Afghanistan is shortly to launch the main drive of a campaign to disarm 100,000 ex-fighters in the hope of completing the bulk of the mammoth task ahead of landmark summer elections, officials said Thursday.
"After the completion of the pilot phase... the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program will be launched throughout the country," Afghan deputy defense minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak told reporters. [...]"
15.01.2004 - Source: ReliefWeb
The disarmament of Kabul began with the collection of arms from local militia commanders ("Long process of clearing heavy weapons from Afghan capital begins (AFP)") [#18795], [ID 854]
15.12.2003 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Sacked soldiers determined to continue campaign for back pay ("Sacked Soldiers Vow to Fight On") [#18234], [ID 855]
"The fatal shooting of at least one dismissed army officer late last month in a violent protest in Kabul over salary arrears will not deter his sacked colleagues.
The men’s determination to continue their campaign for up to a year’s back pay comes amid conflicting accounts of the incident.
It occurred when a group of unemployed soldiers - casualties of a move by the authorities to create a smaller, more ethnically diverse army under central government control - attempted to storm the defence ministry building in Kabul.
Ex-lieutenant Rahamdin recently lost his job after 26 years’ service and has spent the past three months standing outside the defence ministry with fellow sacked soldiers. Hundreds more redundant colleagues have joined them for a series of noisy street demonstrations.
Many of those sacked are former mujahedin with little education and few employment prospects.
The defence ministry incident, on November 23, happened after frustrations over delays in payment of salary arrears boiled over, with tragic consequences.
The sacked soldiers remain defiant, however, and are determined to press ahead with their claims. “We may lose some people to gain our rights but our spirit is high,” said Rahamdin.[...]"
15.12.2003 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
After fatal shooting of dismissed army officer at protest, defence ministry spokesperson says shooting was on both sides ("Sacked Soldiers Vow to Fight On") [#18234], [ID 856]
"[...] Meanwhile, markedly different accounts of the violence have emerged.
Defence ministry spokesperson General Zahir Azimi told IWPR that there was shooting on both sides after some 250 demonstrators entered the premises and smashed windows.
“The situation was very tense, so army chief Bismellah Khan ordered shooting to control the situation. The soldiers shot over the [protesters’] heads. Those who were injured were hurt by ricocheting bullets,” he said.
Expressing deep regrets at the casualties, Azimi confirmed that one man, Mohammad Esa, had been killed and nine people injured.
One defence ministry employee, who did not want to be identified, backed this account. “The demonstrators at first came inside the defence ministry compound but after a few minutes they attacked the building. They broke the glass with wood and stones and as the situation deteriorated the soldiers who were guarding the building were obliged to start shooting and the other side also started firing pistols,” he said.
However, one of the protesters, ex-colonel Fawad Ahmad, who was shot in the lower leg, alleged that the injured were hurt outside the ministry, and that none were carrying weapons.
Ahmad also claimed there’d been a second protest fatality – a man who’d been injured and later passed away in hospital.
Another protesting former soldier present on the day told IWPR that two ministry guards had verbally provoked the crowd before opening fire.
“Even when the demonstrators retreated from the ministry they were being shot from behind,” said the man, speaking on condition of anonymity.[...]"
09.12.2003 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network
Reintegration of disarmed combatants begins ("Reintegration of disarmed combatants begins") [#18100], [ID 857]
03.12.2003 - Source: UN General Assembly
Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration ("Report of the Secretary General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (A/58/616)") [#18064], [ID 858]
"21. As stated above, reform of the Defence Ministry underpins a number of other reform efforts. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed factions is a crucial programme that could not be implemented as long as the Ministry of Defence was overtly controlled by a single faction. Without disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, insecurity will persist and popular participation in the constitutional process and in the national election will be hindered. A successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, on the other hand, can help create the conditions for the emergence of an impartial judicial system and the establishment of a functional national army and police.
22. In October 2003, the Ministry of Defence reform was deemed to be sufficient to allow the initiation of two disarmament, demobilization and reintegration pilot projects. In the first pilot project, which began in Kunduz on 24 October, 647 soldiers were demobilized and absorbed into various reintegration schemes. The second pilot project began in Gardez on 9 November, and 586 soldiers were demobilized. The full disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme is likely to begin in early 2004. Overall, the programme aims to disarm 40,000 soldiers and reintegrate 35,000 over the first year (the remaining 5,000 will be trained and incorporated into the new national army). Some 100,000 soldiers will be demobilized over the multi-year programme.
23. The preparation of the technical and operational dimensions of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme has been strongly supported by the Government of Japan, which is the lead nation for this effort. On 22 February Japan hosted a donor conference in Tokyo to mobilize international support, at which pledges totalling $50.7 million were made, and Japan itself contributed $35 million to the programme."
03.12.2003 - Source: ReliefWeb
Efforts to disarm rival armed factions in the north of Afghanistan have achieved mixed results, with one commander handing over at least 50 tanks and his rival only three ("Afghan disarmament drive sees mixed results in north (Reuters)") [#17996], [ID 859]
22.10.2003 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network
UN-backed country-wide Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process, seen as key to the country's future stability, begins in the northeastern city of Konduz ("UN-backed northern disarmament begins") [#16983], [ID 860]
22.10.2003 - Source: ReliefWeb
More than 600 Afghan militiamen have surrendered their weapons in the early phase of a nationwide demilitarization program ("600 militiamen surrender weapons in northern Afghanistan (AFP)") [#16963], [ID 861]
03.09.2003 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network
Report on disarmament in the northern regions ("Focus on disarmament in the north") [#15930], [ID 862]
23.07.2003 - Source: UN General Assembly
Initiation of disarmament programme has been delayed from 1 July 2003 pending the implementation of a series of reforms at the Ministry of Defence ("Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security A/57/850–S/2003/754") [#14760], [ID 863]
"26. Building security institutions in Afghanistan is contingent upon an effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme to clear the way for a new, national army and police. The programme, known as the Afghan New Beginnings Programme, requires that combatants from different political factions give up their weapons to the central Government under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. A presidential decree governing the process is pending. In the current climate, however, armed groups are not likely to entrust their safety to a government institution that they view as representing factional rather than national interests.
27. For this reason, the initiation of the disarmament programme has been delayed from 1 July 2003 pending the implementation of a series of reforms at the Ministry of Defence. The confidence-building measures include the restructuring of the most senior echelon of the Ministry and the appointment to important high-level positions of people from differing political, regional and ethnic backgrounds; the selection of professional senior officers for the Central Corps, the establishment and implementation of a national military recruiting system that is open to all eligible citizens of Afghanistan, and the development of a plan for the merit-based selection of officers. These measures, intended to give the Ministry of Defence a more national character, will further the implementation of the reforms promulgated in the presidential decree signed on 1 December 2002. Successful implementation of these measures is urgently needed if the disarmament programme that the Afghan Transitional Administration, the Government of Japan and UNAMA are busily preparing is to accomplish its goals.
28. The first phase of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme consists of a pilot project to disarm 1,000 ex-combatants in each of six designated locations, namely, Bamian, Gardez, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif. Lessons learned from the pilot phase will be incorporated into the main phase of the Afghan New Beginnings Programme, disarming the remaining 94,000 ex-combatants, which is to begin as soon as possible thereafter. The regional offices of the Programme will support the disarmament process. Preparations are already under way in Bamian, Gardez, Kandahar and Kunduz."
07.03.2003 - Source: Danish Immigration Service
DIS: As long as there are no funds for rebuilding and consequently employment, demobilization in Afghanistan will not be possible ("The Political, Security and Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan: Report on fact-finding mission to Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan and Islamabad, Pakistan; 22 September - 5 October 2002") [#11326], [ID 864]
"The EU special representative said that there is currently no serious programme in place in Afghanistan with a view to demobilization. There are no UN-programmes, but a committee has been established consisting of Afghan government representatives and local leaders. The source stressed that job creation and demobilization are closely linked, and that apart from political willingness, the creation of new, labour-intensive jobs and training is needed. The two latter points require funding and it will be a long time before the conditions are met. In this connection, the source also pointed out that criminality will typically follow conflict, and that accordingly it is of vital importance to start up a process of demobilization.
The head of the UNHCR office in Mazar-i-Sharif also pointed out that disarmament and demobilization are closed linked to the creation of jobs. The lack of viable jobs in the northern regions gives rise to many instances of extortion by people carrying weapons, as they have no other means of income. In some districts in the Balkh province, a disarmament action took place, though with some success, but the source pointed out that as long as one faction is disarming another faction, there are only limited chances of success. In the opinion of the source, an impartial, internationally supported force is required for disarmament to be successful, and at the same time demobilization must be accompanied by alternatives in the form of employment, which is currently insufficient.
ICG also pointed out that as long as there are no funds for rebuilding and consequently employment, demobilization in Afghanistan will not be possible."
01.2003 - Source: Overseas Development Institute
Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration ("Afghanistan’s political and constitutional development (Authors: Chris Johnson, William Maley, Alexander Thier and Ali Wardak)") [#11961], [ID 865]
"Traditional disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) assumptions do not apply in Afghanistan. It is not simply a question of dealing with the demobilisation of an armed force which is neatly separated from civil society, but rather of a society where guns are commonplace, and where their use is often unrelated to any command structure. Three broad groups of armed men can be identified, though these are not exclusive categories. The first are those who could be seen as regular forces, men who are uniformed and/or under clear command and control structures, with livelihoods tied to the military establishment. Second are those who are conscripted into regular forces for short periods, thereafter returning to their communities. Finally there are those who are part of irregular militias. The lines between all of these and between those who use the gun for banditry or other criminal activity are often blurred. In addition, many Afghans keep guns for self-defence.
The exact number of combatants in Afghanistan is not known, but current estimates are that there are some 70,000 men in the regular forces and another 100,000 irregular militia members. However, estimates are complicated because numbers can be inflated for reasons of prestige, and in a bid to maximise the resources that come with demobilisation programmes. Many soldiers are reported to have been recently mobilised as a result of the post-11 September situation, and the new access of Western funds. This suggests that not all of those under arms are long-term soldiers who have had no other means of survival. If released, some may therefore simply return to what they were doing prior to September 2001. While economic incentives may be needed, the recently mobilised may have few significant social and psychological barriers to demobilisation.
In the main, DDR programmes have so far only collected old guns, or weapons left behind by the Taliban. Meanwhile, enormous caches uncovered by Coalition forces, including anti-tank guns and rockets as well as firearms, are being turned over to local, non-ATA forces working with the Coalition precisely those groups that need to be disarmed most urgently. Most Afghans believe that the majority of those under arms would be prepared to give their weapons up if conditions were right; indeed, there have been reports of people simply handing over their arms because they are tired of war and want to find another way to live. Conditions conducive to this are likely to include confidence in one's own security, a belief that one's group can have representation and can solve conflict through peaceful means, and the presence of a reasonable economic alternative. Afghanistan is, however, far from those conditions. Across the country, interviewees for this study spoke of a lack of trust and of their fear of handing weapons in. As one elder put it: `People are afraid of the Northern Alliance; if they attack our families and we are empty-handed what can we do?' One ELJ delegate put it like this: `Why do people keep weapons? Because they have no job. They go to the commander and he feeds them'."
25.07.2002 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Weapons collection programme frustrated by mismanagement and former combatants' reluctance to part with their guns ("Disarmament Drive") [#29893], [ID 866]
"Afghan government efforts to collect more than a million weapons and pieces of military equipment from ex-fighters are being hampered by fear, confusion and shortages of funds.
While some 50,000 have already been collected - including 100 mortars, 130 armoured vehicles and 40 tanks - continuing worries over security coupled with uncertainty over compensation are causing problems for the authorities.
The task is further complicated by the country's gun culture. Weapons are part and parcel of local ritual, fired joyously into the air at weddings, or at the birth of sons. Afghan men say they love their guns as much as their wives.
Armament so far collected have been stored locally rather than destroyed, prompting concerns that they may be seized were fighting to flare up again. Defence ministry officials have promised compensation, which has yet to materialise. But most worrying of all, many men who fought in the civil war say they do not feel safe without their guns.
General Atiqullah Baryalai, deputy defence minister and president of the Commission for Collecting Arms, told IWPR that weapons have so far been collected in the five northern provinces of Badakhshan, Takhar, Kundoz, Parwan and Kapeesa - where former Northern Alliance commander turned defence minister Mohammad holds sway. [...] As part of the disarmament programme, the authorities had offered former combatants some compensation and the opportunity to join the new national army if they were suitable.
The trouble is that the military authorities don't appear to have sufficient funds for reimbursements and will struggle to find places for estimate 120,000 paramilitary fighters within in the new military force expected to comprise half that number."
15.07.2002 - Source: BBC News
BBC: Private armies disbanded ("Afghanistan to disband private armies") [#8027], [ID 868]
"The Afghan government has ordered the disbanding of all private armies. A presidential spokesman said the move was intended to boost efforts to create a national military force, but there was no word on how the order would be enforced. There's been no reaction from the warlords who control the private armies, and there's likely to be strong opposition fom them. The presidential spokesman said the government hoped to overcome opposition by appointing a leading warlord such as Abdul Rashid Dostam, or the governor of Herat, Ismail Khan, to oversee a commission on the disbandment. Earlier, the American Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, inspected potential recruits to a new force being trained by American officers."
25.01.2002 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
IWPR: Karzai may struggle to disarm warlords ("Karzai May Struggle to Disarm Warlords") [#30698], [ID 1662]
"After more than two decades of conflict, many warlords and tribal leaders are reluctant to lay down their arms and the task of hauling in the estimated million weapons in the country will be a difficult one. People have grown used to living by the gun and simply calling for a weapons amnesty is unlikely to have much impact. Although there is peace for the time being, several factions are unhappy with their representation in parliament. International observers fear that force will once again be used as a means of gaining more power. Memories of 1992, when mujahedin groups started fighting each other, launching the country on a fresh path of destruction, are fresh in people's minds. It is feared that several senior Northern Alliance leaders will ignore pleas to disarm. General Abdul Rashid Dostum in Mazar-e-Sharif, Ismail Khan in Herat, Mohammed Muhaqiq and others, unhappy not to have been given key positions in the government, might retreat into their heavily-armed fiefdoms.
Without their participation in the disarmament process, it is inconceivable that a government of national unity can take power or reconstruction of the country begin. Dostum, Khan and Muhaqiq believe that since Pashtun domination of other ethnic groupings in the country has long been the source of trouble in the country, this is the time to rectify the problem.
General Atiqullah Baryalai, deputy defence minister in charge of north-eastern Afghanistan, said that disarmament."