Karzai okays campaign to disarm Afghan militiamen
.KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday approved the launching of a program to disarm, demobilize and re-integrate (DDR) some 100,000 Afghan militiamen.
The campaign will get underway in the northern city of Kunduz on October 24 and later be expanded to Mazar-i-Sharif also in the north, Gardez in the southeast and the capital Kabul, a statement issued by Karzai’s office said.
“In each location one thousand ex-combatants will participate in the process. The main phase will begin shortly after the pilot phase,” the statement said.
Private militiamen have been blamed for insecurity in the provinces. Militias were reluctant to hand over their weapons to a ministry dominated by a rival faction. Disarming the militiamen is a top priority of President Karzai’s government in an effort to improve security outside Kabul. “This will help pave the way for the creation of the Afghan National Army,” the statement added. The DDR program will be carried out by Afghanistan’s New Beginnings Program (ANBP), a joint government and UN entity supported by the Disarmament Commission and the Demobilization and Reintegration Commission. It will help reorganize the existing Afghan military force units and prepare them for weapons collection and decommissioning, it said. “Together with ANBP they will produce a re-integration strategy that will provide jobs for the demobilized soldiers within the existing National Development Framework.” —AFP