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Afghanistan: Karzai Approves Defense Reforms

Kabul, 1 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai has approved long-delayed reforms to the structure of the Defense Ministry and wants 22 top posts filled within two weeks. His spokesman, Jawid Luddin, said today that the reforms are central to building a national army and disarming the warlords who control most of the country.

Luddin said that the next step is for a selection team made up of representatives from the president's office, the Defense Ministry, and the international community to choose from a minimum of four candidates for each post.

At present, tens of thousands of militiamen nominally serve under the Defense Ministry, but in practice are loyal to autonomous regional commanders.