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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 11:09 GMT
Kabul marks freedom anniversary
Kabul policemen
The departure of the Taleban was widely celebrated
Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, is marking the first anniversary of its liberation from Taleban rule.

A year ago the Islamic fundamentalist Taleban fled the city, ending five years in power.


We achieved this freedom through the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers

President Karzai
Freedom came after the city had endured more than a month of heavy bombardment by American-led forces.

Since then Kabul has been transformed, but the changes have been mitigated by continuing violence and economic hardship for much of the population.

Protests

There are no official anniversary celebrations on Wednesday, but a small ceremony was held at the Interior Ministry to mark the occasion.

Student protesters in Kabul
Students say they cannot afford to eat
A message from President Hamid Karzai praised resistance forces for toppling the hard-line Islamic militia.

"We achieved this freedom through the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers," he said.

His remarks come as the authorities try to contain increasingly violent clashes between students - demanding better living conditions - and police.

The violence followed the largest student demonstration in more than two decades - an indication, correspondents say, of new freedoms, but also of the inability of the police to exercise restraint.

At least two students have been killed in the unrest.

Security fears


If you don't have money in your pocket and no food, how can you feel things have improved

Kabul resident
Correspondents say the authorities in Afghanistan are under pressure to realise the high expectations of their people.

Despite millions of dollars in aid, ordinary people have yet to see much difference to their lives.

"When the economy is not good, how can you expect a better life?" one man, a bookseller, told the BBC.

US special forces east of Kabul
US troops are still hunting al-Qaeda remnants
"If you don't have money in your pocket and no food, how can you feel things have improved?"

There are also widespread fears about the lack of law and order and security in Kabul.

And large areas of Afghanistan are still ruled by warlords, who show no signs of giving up their weapons or their fighters.

During the day there will be a graduation ceremony for a battalion of the new Afghan army, trained by the French and Americans.

But correspondents say there is little agreement over the size and ethnic makeup of the new national army.


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13 Nov 02 | South Asia
13 Nov 02 | South Asia
12 Nov 02 | South Asia
13 Nov 01 | South Asia
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