8 November 2004, Volume 3, Number 40
KIDNAPPING IN KABUL: BY WHOM AND FOR WHAT?By Amin Tarzi
Unidentified gunmen in Kabul on 28 October abducted three foreign nationals working for the UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB). The abductees included two women from Northern Ireland and Kosova and one Filipino. JEMB spokesman Sultan Ahmad Bahin told Hindukosh News Agency on the same day that the kidnappers have not contacted the election body. Reports indicated that five kidnappers, dressed in military uniforms, stopped the UN vehicle carrying the workers at mid-day and, after beating the driver, took the three with them.
Sayyed Mohammad Akbar Agha, claming to be the head of a group called Jaysh al-Muslimin (Army of the Muslims), said on 28 October that his fighters kidnapped the three foreign election workers because of their participation in organizing Afghanistan's 9 October presidential election. Akbar Agha initially did not make any demands for releasing the three workers.
Relations With Neo-Taliban
Ishaq Manzur, claiming to speak on behalf of Jami'at Jaish-e Mujahedin (Society of Mujahedin Army), told AP on 28 October that the kidnapped workers were transferred to a "safe place," adding that the group was "checking their identities and we will demand that if their countries have forces in Afghanistan they should withdraw them."
Information about the breakaway faction of the neo-Taliban called Taliban Jami'at Jaish-e Muslemin (Muslim Army of the Taliban Society), which is led by Mullah Sayyed Mohammad Akbar Agha, emerged in August (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 12 August 2004). Another group, using the Arabic name Jaysh al-Muslimin al-Afghani (Afghan Army of the Muslims), in September claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination of Afghan Transitional Administration Deputy Chairman Ne'amatullah Shahrani in northern Afghanistan (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 24 September 2004).
Mufti Latifullah Hakimi, purporting to speak on behalf of the neo-Taliban, told the Peshawar-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) on 28 October that while his group had no information regarding the kidnapping in Kabul, it admired the action. When asked by AIP what the neo-Taliban would have done had they kidnapped the workers, Hakimi said that possibly they "would have demanded that their supporters be released from [the U.S. detention center in] Guantanamo [Bay, Cuba]...and would possibly have killed them [the hostages] once their demands had not been met."
In another twist, Abdul Latif Hakimi, also claiming to speak for the neo-Taliban, told AFP on 28 October that he doubted that Jaysh al-Muslimin was responsible for the kidnapping "because they are a very limited number of people and they don't have access to Kabul to carry out operations."
Further complicating the links between Jaysh al-Muslimin and the neo-Taliban and intra-neo-Taliban relations, Hamid Agha, also purporting to speak on behalf of the neo-Taliban, told Reuters on 31 October that the group was not involved in the abduction of the UN employees. "We have no comments about the issue. It is their [Jaysh al-Muslimin's] work and we are not involved in it," Hamid Agha claimed.
Commenting in August about Akbar Agha's group, Hamid Agha had indicated that the organization was not "the Taliban" as all "Taliban commanders are united under the leadership" of Mullah Mohammad Omar (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 12 August 2004). Confirming Hamid Agha's views, Abdullah Laghmani, the intelligence chief in the southern city of Kandahar told AFP on 28 October that there is a split in the ranks of the Taliban, "one is the group of Mullah Omar and one group is the group of Sayyed Akbar Agha, the chief of Jaysh al-Muslimin." According to Laghmani, Akbar Agha's men have been operating in southern Afghanistan in cells of two or three individuals, a statement that corresponds to Abdul Latif Hakimi's views regarding the Jaysh al-Muslimin composition and areas of operations.
On 31 October Mullah Mohammad Ishaq -- most likely the same individual as Ishaq Manzur -- claiming to speak for Jaysh al-Muslimin, told AFP, "Our demand is [that] the invader countries that these people belong to should withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and rethink their policies towards Afghanistan." Otherwise, "we will kill the hostages," he added. When Mohammad Ishaq was informed that neither Serbia and Montenegro nor the Philippines had any troops in Afghanistan, he said that those "countries should condemn the invasion [of Afghanistan] by other countries." The same day, a video released by Al-Jazeera television showed the three UN employees kidnapped in Kabul. According to Al-Jazeera, the kidnappers have demanded that the United Kingdom pull its forces out of Afghanistan, that all of the Afghan detainees in U.S. custody be released from Guantanamo Bay, and that the UN should leave Afghanistan and it should declare "Britain and American's meddling in Afghanistan illegal."
The issue regarding suspected Taliban prisoners in U.S. custody was made by Latifullah Hakimi on 28 October when he had said that if the neo-Taliban had been involved in the kidnapping, they would have asked for the release of their supporters. The fact that Jaysh al-Muslimin eventually included the release of the Taliban prisoners in its list of demands may indicate a link between Jaysh al-Muslimin and some members of the neo-Taliban. Another possibility is that Jaysh al-Muslimin was not sure what to demand for the hostages and was inspired by Latifullah Hakimi's comments.
Akbar Agha initially said that the deadline for his group to make its final decision on the fate the hostages was 3 November. But Saber Mo'min, identified as a Jaysh al-Muslimin military commander, rejected reports that the group set a deadline of 3 November. "We have set...next Friday [5 November] as the final deadline for our demands to be met. If our demands are not met by then we will kill these three people," AIP quoted him as saying on 1 November. However Mo'min qualified the deadline by adding, "If the Americans for the Afghan government start talking to us then the deadline set by us could be extended."
Mo'min also told AIP on 1 November that Jaysh al-Muslimin has formed a four-man delegation to negotiate the fate of the hostages. "If the Americans for the [Afghan] government want our delegation [to contact them]" the delegation "can go anywhere for talks," he added. The same day, Ishaq Manzur told AP that the group had separated the three hostages to thwart any potential rescue attempt, threatening that if a rescue attempt is made to release one of the hostages, the other two will be killed in reaction.
On 2 November Mullah Ishaq Manzur reconfirmed 3 November as the group's deadline for killing their hostages if its demands are not met. Jaysh al-Muslimin's leader, Akbar Agha, on 3 November told AIP that the deadline remained 3 November, confirming Manzur's warning. Neither Akbar Agha nor Manzur commented on Mo'min's claim that the deadline was 5 November. Akbar Agha said that his group does "not regard the hostages as UN workers but the citizens of their respective countries." Adding, "Britain has committed aggression in our country and one of the hostages is a citizen of that country, which we regard as an aggressor. Our final deadline is midnight tonight [3 November] and there will not be any change to it," Akbar Agha told AIP. According to Akbar Agha the group has received a call from unspecified "authorities," AP reported on 3 November. "We want the Afghan government and the UN to officially declare that they are in contact with us," Akbar Agha demanded.
The current incident is Afghanistan's first case of an Iraq-style kidnapping of foreign hostages that includes displaying the hostages on video. In light of recent reports that some former members of the Taliban regime may be seeking reconciliation with Kabul, it is very likely that the incident may be an outcome of struggles within the fragmented groups formerly belonging to the Taliban regime. Alternatively, the initial uncertainty about the demands made by Jaysh al-Muslimin for freeing their hostages and their ever-shifting deadline indicates that the group may not be politically motivated and have taken the hostages in hope of receiving a ransom.
WITH KARZAI'S WIN, FOCUS SHIFTS TO FUTURE CABINETBy Ron Synovitz and Amin Tarzi
Final official results from Afghanistan's presidential election confirm that transitional leader Hamid Karzai won the support of 55 percent of voters in the country -- nearly 40 percentage points more than his closest rival, ethnic Tajik former Education Minister Mohammad Yunos Qanuni.
Qanuni told reporters on 4 November that he accepts the results, despite lingering accusations of fraud, because it is in Afghanistan's national interest for him to do so. "I'm sure that if we don't recognize the results of the election and we question the legitimacy of this vote after the [official] declaration of the results, the country will go through a crisis. And the crisis will be because of confrontations between the supporters of different candidates. Their arguments and political positions will lead, in the end, to war and military clashes and ethnic tension," Qanuni said.
Karzai's other top rivals -- General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Mohammad Mohaqeq -- also announced today that they recognize the results.
The developments come after an independent panel of investigators, set up by the UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), said on 3 November that the outcome of the race had not been altered by problems with the indelible ink meant to stop voters from casting multiple ballots.
Craig Jenness, a former Canadian diplomat, is one of the three investigators on that panel. "There were fewer problems on election day than many experts had anticipated. The most publicized problem -- misapplication of indelible ink -- took place in many, although probably not the majority of, polling centers. This was the result of technical and administrative failures. There was no political motive. Most importantly, it did not result in significant numbers of multiple [votes]," Jenness said (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 25 October 2004).
The focus of political observers in Afghanistan is now shifting to the next step in the forming of a government. President-elect Karzai must name his cabinet choices before his inauguration ceremony at the end of November.
Karzai pledged during the election campaign that he would not have a cabinet of warlords. But Vikram Parekh, a Kabul-based researcher for the International Crisis Group, told RFE/RL that the official results could make it difficult for Karzai to keep that promise (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 1 October 2004).
"On the one hand, [Karzai] won with a large margin over his nearest challenger. But I think the really significant thing about this election is how much it reveals about the divisions that remain in the country -- particularly ethnically and regionally. And although [Karzai] did well in urban areas of the north and west, on the balance it looks like, in rural areas, the bulk of the people voted for individuals who he would like to exclude from his next cabinet. Consequently, I think he is going to have a harder time [leaving those people out of his cabinet]. Most of the people who might have worn the tag of 'warlord' before will now be able to say, legitimately: 'We represent our people. We represent Uzbeks or Hazaras or Tajiks.' So [Karzai] may not have quite the free hand that he had hoped to get," Parekh said.
Parekh said he thinks talks are already taking place in Kabul about a possible coalition cabinet that could include representatives from some of Karzai's rivals, such as Qanuni or Dostum.
Kabul's "Da Kpulwaki Wazhma" in its 1 November issue published a list of what it claims is Karzai's future cabinet. The 25-member cabinet differs drastically from the current cabinet and with the exception of former Herat Province Governor Mohammad Ismail Khan, who is listed as the minister of civil aviation, no other warlords are included. Also excluded are the current defense and foreign ministers, Marshall Mohammad Qasim Fahim and Abdullah Abdullah. The list, which reportedly was obtained from a close aide to Karzai's first vice-presidential running mate, Ahmad Zia Mas'ud, does not include Qanuni, Mohaqeq, or General Dostum. Parekh said that the list "was essentially Pashtun," adding, "I think it probably represents something more that some people in Karzai's circle might want to see rather than something that is actually achievable. Simultaneously, there are reports about ongoing talks with Qanuni, with Dostum. There is still probably an intensive negotiating process going on. You have various scenarios [for the next cabinet] -- one in which you would have some former Northern Alliance personalities and another in which they would be excluded," Parekh said.
Karzai's aides deny that the newly elected president is making any overtures about a coalition cabinet. But one senior Afghan government official told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity that there may be fewer changes from the current transitional cabinet than expected.
Still, several current cabinet members are expected to be forced out of the government by technical requirements under the new Afghan Constitution. One requirement is that each Afghan minister must have a university degree. Dostum, Mohaqeq, and Fahim do not have such a degree.
Parekh said the test for Karzai will be his ability to push ahead with internationally backed programs aimed at demobilizing and disarming the militia fighters of Afghan warlords.
"A 55 percent majority, in which the bulk of that is Pashtun votes, is not going to be something that -- in practice -- is going to really give [Karzai] the mandate to go after militia leaders and get them to comply with the [disarmament, demobilization and reintegration] program. He is almost certainly going to have to make an overture to at least one of the opposition camps -- and do this at the same time as staying true to his campaign pledge of excluding warlords. It's going to be a very difficult balancing act," Parekh said.
But Afghan experts say the legal mandate Karzai received by winning more than 50 percent of the vote is all the authority he needs to push ahead with militia disarmament.
Among them is Mohammad Musa Ma'rufi, a professor of Afghan law who was a member of the commission that drafted Afghanistan's current constitution. "Now, what is important is what will happen in parliamentary elections next year. It seems there will be no strong [opposition] party. There could be an opposition party. But it won't have strong, nationwide support. There will be individual members of parliament. But those individuals will not [be unified] in opposition to the president," Ma'rufi said (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 25 October 2004).
Bay Fang in the 8 November 2004 issue of the "U.S. News & World Report" wrote that if "Karzai wants to push the warlords out," picking his cabinet might be his last chance.
Ron Synovitz is an RFE/RL correspondent.
ELECTION SPECIALVisit RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated webpage "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05" (http://www.azadiradio.org/en/specials/elections) for the latest news, analysis, and background on the country's first-ever direct national elections. Find detailed profiles of the presidential candidates, identify emerging political parties, and view key documents in the electoral process. Plus, a host of other tools to help you follow October's presidential vote and next year's parliamentary campaigns.
KARZAI FORMALLY WINS AFGHAN PRESIDENCY AMIDST COMPLAINTS.The chairman of the Afghan Transitional Administration, Hamid Karzai, was formally declared on 3 November the winner of his country's first popularly contested presidential election, international news agencies reported. UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) Chairman Zakim Shah, after thanking the people of Afghanistan for their participation in the 9 October presidential election and the international community for their cooperation, said that a total of 11.5 million people voted in the election, Afghanistan Television reported.
President-elect Karzai won 55.4 percent or 4,442,000 of the legally cast votes. His closest rival, Mohammad Yunos Qanuni, won 16.3 percent, followed by Mohammad Mohaqeq with 11.7 percent, and General Abdul Rashid Dostum with 10 percent. The JEMB therefore declared Karzai the winner of the election and "the first elected president of Afghanistan" for a five-year term.
Yassa, a representative of Mohaqeq, said that while Mohaqeq accepts the results of the election in the interest of Afghanistan, he continues to reject the findings of the UN panel set up to investigate allegations of irregularities made by most of Karzai's 15 opponents, "The New York Times" reported on 3 November (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 29 October 2004). Yassa said the candidates' meeting with the panel was a "farce" as the UN team repeated "like a mantra" that the problems were not significant enough to have given Karzai the victory.
Dastagir Hazhabr, representing Latif Pedram, who finished fifth with 1.4 percent of the votes, said that the election results are illegitimate, making Karzai's rule illegitimate as well.
Qanuni's second vice-presidential running mate, Sayyed Hosayn Alemi-Balkhi, said that the report of the UN panel was "unacceptable" as it was "not able" to answer many of the questions presented to the panel, AP reported on 3 November. Alemi-Balkhi did not specifically challenge Karzai's victory. (Amin Tarzi)
KABUL DAILY SAYS AFGHANS 'REAL WINNER' IN ELECTION DESPITE PROBLEMS.A 26 October commentary in "Arman-e Melli" said that the Afghan people are "the main winners, though most of them complain about the election process." According to the daily in 2001, when "the international community, under the leadership of the United States," ended the brutal Taliban regime, Afghanistan became the focus of global attention. However, it continued, "the war in Iraq foiled Afghanistan's golden opportunity." The commentary added that Afghan Transitional Administration "did not produce any remarkable achievements," but with their turnout in the 9 October election, the Afghan people illustrated that they "were no longer indifferent to their political fate and that they themselves wanted to determine their own destiny. "Arman-e Melli" ended its commentary by saying that Afghans now expect the president to be honest and work for the people. (Amin Tarzi)
KARZAI CALLS ANTINARCOTIC WAR HIS TOP PRIORITY.Hamid Karzai has called fighting his country's surging drug problem his top priority, the Pakistani daily "The News International" reported on 30 October. "The fight against narcotics will be my top priority in the future." Karzai said in a statement released in Kabul that Afghanistan's opium production is expected to increase once again in 2004 (for more see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 20 February, 29 May, and 5 June 2003; and 12 February, 2 and 10 June, and 1 September 2004). (Amin Tarzi)
POLITICAL PARTIES WANT CABINET FREE OF 'CRIMINALS.'Representatives of 15 political parties held a meeting in Kabul on 1 November in which they called on the future Afghan government not to give an opportunity to those "involved in the destruction of cities, violation of human rights, war crimes, and in the violation of people's integrity," the official Radio Afghanistan reported. The unidentified representatives asked for people with professional qualifications to be appointed to cabinet posts.
A current cabinet minister, on condition of anonymity, said choosing a new cabinet will be a huge challenge for Karzai, "The Boston Globe" reported on 30 October. Expectations will be much, much higher on all fronts," the minister added. (Amin Tarzi)
KABUL PAPER WARNS AGAINST TALKS WITH TALIBAN...In a commentary on 25 October, the Kabul daily "Erada" warned against negotiating with former members of the Taliban regime. Listing the brutal acts of the Taliban regime and the efforts by the neo-Taliban to terrorize Afghanistan after the establishment of the post-Taliban administration, "Erada" wrote that "despite all of this, we [do want to] distinguish between the good and bad Taliban." According to the commentary, those fighting in the name of the Taliban -- the neo-Taliban -- have realized their weakness against U.S.-led coalition forces and now prefer "negotiations to fighting in order to overcome their problems." According to "Erada," any attempt to negotiate with former Taliban or with the neo-Taliban would pave the way for increased activity by the militia. The commentary asks, "How can we distinguish between the good and the bad Taliban?" Afghanistan is "on the road to democracy, whereas, the extremist Taliban are carrying out acts against democracy and claim responsibility for every bloody attack." (Amin Tarzi)
...AS GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN DENIES TALKS WITH MILITIA.Jawed Ludin said in Kabul on 26 October that the Afghan Transitional Administration is not engaged in any negotiations with the Taliban, Hindukosh News Agency reported. However, Ludin added that those members of the militia who stop fighting the central authority and leave the Taliban lines can live in their country provided that they their "hands are not red with the nation's blood." Hindukosh commented that Ludin made his remarks "at a time when Afghan and international media have recently published reports about negotiations between the Taliban and the state." Reports about efforts to include some members of the Taliban in Afghanistan's future administration have circulated since October 2003, when former Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmad Mutawakkil was released from custody (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 3 July, 18 September, 9, 16, 23, and 30 October 2003; and 4 March, 10 June and 25 October 2004). A 17 October report from Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran said he also intends to form a new political party. (Amin Tarzi)
DESPITE ADVANCES, RIGHTS EXPERT RAISES ALARM AT INSECURITY.The first report of the UN's rights expert for Afghanistan to the General Assembly highlights concerns about the power of local militia leaders and the growth of the opium trade.
The expert, Cherif Bassiouni, told the assembly that Afghanistan needs a major increase in international forces to counter the influence of local commanders. In comments at a news conference on 28 October, he said warlords in some regions dominate all aspects of life. "It's more than just intimidation. [Local commanders] are in control. They are in control of who gets the land and they are in control of who gets the water and who cultivates what and who gets back to his old house and who gets back his old plot. With one reservation, which is very important -- it's not uniform across the country," Bassiouni said.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a UN-mandated security force of about 9,000 troops, currently commanded by NATO, has barely expanded beyond the capital, Kabul. The United States leads a separate coalition of about 18,000 troops that concentrates on fighting remnants of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The United States has sought a merger of all the international forces in Afghanistan under NATO command, but France and Germany have opposed this.
Bassiouni is a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago who was appointed in April to be the UN's independent expert on human rights in Afghanistan. In a 30-page report issued earlier this week to the Assembly, he credited the international community -- the United States, in particular -- for the country's many achievements since the fall of the Taliban.
But Bassiouni told reporters that human rights violations persist -- in part because of poorly coordinated international efforts at strengthening rule of law. He said the United States should lend its expertise to a comprehensive plan to link reforms of key aspects of Afghanistan's fledgling justice system.
"What you have is individual efforts, totally disjointed, not part of a comprehensive plan, in which at least in the justice sector in the broader sense -- from police, law enforcement to prisons -- the United States is absent. And yet the United States can have a very significant role in it," Bassiouni said.
Bassiouni also cited problems he said the government of President-elect Karzai can solve in the short term. In particular, he raised concern about abuses of women and children. Women continue to be bartered like property, he said, and detained unlawfully under traditional practices. Karzai has promised to pass a law prohibiting the practice of turning over young girls as payment of blood money.
Bassiouni reported that kidnapping and trafficking of young children is a growing problem. He said it will require a nationwide campaign to raise public awareness and prosecute offenders. "This is a rampant practice. It's off the radar screen of the police. Police don't even record these occurrences. It's something I've brought to the attention of the government and urged them to sensitize the police and to make that a priority, to engage in a public education campaign on television and radio to inform the public of it," Bassiouni said.
Bassiouni's briefing of reporters and the General Assembly's human rights committee took place on the same day the UN Security Council was reviewing a resolution aimed at improving justice for women in conflict zones.
UN officials acknowledge the difficulties still facing women in Afghanistan. But they say UN agencies have helped improve health and education considerably for women in some parts of the country.
UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno told reporters on 28 October that the public role of women in Afghanistan has clearly improved since the fall of the Taliban. "Am I satisfied with the present role of women in Afghanistan? Obviously not. We want that role to increase. Am I happy with the progress made since we deployed there after the war? I think honestly yes. I think the change is amazing, although obviously if you compare it to standards of more open societies, there's a big obvious difference," Guehenno said.
"The Washington Post" reported on 28 October the continuing problem of women who try to commit suicide through self-immolation in response to domestic violence and other abuses. Afghanistan's Human Rights Commission recorded 300 suspected cases of women and girls setting themselves on fire last year. "The Washington Post" reported that so far this year about 180 women and girls have been taken to the burns ward in the hospital of the western city of Herat. (Robert McMahon)
RELIGIOUS COUNCIL CONDEMNS ABDUCTION.Afghan's Ulema Council condemned the abduction of three UN employees by the Jaysh al-Muslimin, Radio Afghanistan reported, citing a 2 November statement. The council's statement said that "it considers" the hostage taking to be against Islamic law. The council said that the three UN workers were in Afghanistan to help and, according to the Prophet Muhammad, "if anyone kills people of the covenant [with whom you have made a peace agreement], he will not even have a smell of heaven." The council asked the hostage takers to release their hostages, AFP reported on 2 November. (Amin Tarzi)
FOUR SENTENCED FOR KILLING CHINESE WORKERS IN NORTHEAST.The Afghan Supreme Court on 28 October handed down sentences for the killing of 11 Chinese road-construction workers in June in Konduz Province, Xinhua news agency reported (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 18 June 2004). Three of the men, including Mohammad Akbar, a former general for the 6th Military Corps in Konduz, were given death sentences while the fourth man received a two-year jail sentence for hiding information from the authorities. Afghan officials had initially blamed the murders on the neo-Taliban. (Amin Tarzi)
CONFUSION OVER CLASHES IN SOUTH.Six policemen, two soldiers, and a civilian were killed in clashes between Afghan National Army and police forces on 1 November in Qalat, the capital of Zabul Province, AIP reported.
However, Zabul Governor Khial Mohammad Hosayni told AIP that the fighting was not between the army and the police. "Soldiers of the National Army belonging to [the Afghan] Defense Ministry attacked a security post at the Electricity Department this afternoon [1 November] and then ordered the ISAF soldiers, who are Afghans, to surrender. As a result fighting broke out between the National Army and the ISAF forces," Hosayni said.
The claim by Hosayni is problematic, as there is no ISAF presence in Zabul and the force does not use Afghan forces for its operations in areas where it is present, such as Kabul and northern parts of Afghanistan.
A Zabul provincial deputy police chief told AFP on 2 November that "some 11 people were martyred and four others were injured in the fighting between the National Army, police and militia forces."
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zaher Azimi, however, said on 2 November that only four "armed men" were killed and 20 others arrested in clashes between the National Army and an unidentified armed group in Zabul, Radio Afghanistan reported. According to Azimi, the incident occurred when two armed men who were illegally searching residential houses were arrested by the National Army. According to Azimi, five members of the National Army were wounded. (Amin Tarzi)
U.S. SOLIDER KILLED IN SOUTHEAST.Anticoalition militants attacked a U.S. patrol in Paktika Province on 1 November, killing one soldier and injuring two, CBS News reported. U.S. military spokesman Major Mark McCann said that the incident occurred in Orgun, where the patrol came under small arms and rocket fire. The two injured soldiers were listed in stable condition. The identity of the attackers is not known. (Amin Tarzi)
NATIONAL ARMY KILLS ONE AT CHECKPOINT TO SOUTHERN CITY.The Afghan National Army killed one person and wounded two others in Kandahar on 1 November, Afghanistan Television reported on 2 November. According to the Afghan Defense Ministry, the National Army fired on a vehicle, which failed to stop at one of the security gates into Kandahar and fired at the guards. An investigation is under way. The National Army is seen by many observers as the backbone of long-term stability in Afghanistan and the means by which Kabul could extend its authority over the entire country. (Amin Tarzi)
THIS WEEK IN AFGHANISTAN'S HISTORY28 October 1879 -- Amir Mohammad Ya'qub Khan abdicates, British forces take over the government in Kabul.
2 November 1965 -- Prime Minister Mohammad Hashem Maiwandwal presents cabinet to Wolesi Jirga and gets vote of confidence. The entire proceedings are broadcast over Radio Afghanistan.
27 October 1999 -- The Taliban regime names Mawlawi Mohammad Wakil Mutawakkil foreign minister, replacing Mullah Hasan Akund.
Sources: "Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan," Third Edition, by Ludwig W. Adamec, (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2003).