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Afghanistan's Karzai Takes Action Against Commanders

14 July 2004 -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai has ordered the prosecution of fighters who fail to hand in their weapons in line with the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) process.

Karzai issued the decree as several powerful commanders have come to Kabul to discuss security issues related to the upcoming presidential election.

Some local commanders have directly or indirectly been blamed by central authorities for being involved in the drug trade. Karzai has pledged to disarm at least 60 percent of the estimated 100,000 fighters bearing arms ahead of the presidential poll, planned for 9 October.

However, only 10,000 have so far turned in their weapons. Karzai's decree comes after the U.S. military has announced a new operation, dubbed "Lightning Resolve," to provide security for the October poll.