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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 16:59 GMT
Afghan security situation 'urgent'
US soldiers training in southern Afghanistan
US troops will focus on aid activities in eastern areas
A British aid agency has warned of worsening security in Afghanistan and asked the international community to address the problem.

Coalition forces should concentrate on maintaining peace

Care International

In a policy report, Care International says it could be many years before the Afghan Government is able to ensure peace.

Care also expressed concerns about moves by the American-led coalition forces to shift their focus to aid work.

There is widespread fear that security threats could tip the country back into chaos, the report says.

On Tuesday, US soldiers recovered a large cache of rockets in eastern Afghanistan, the second such haul in four days.

Poor conditions

In a strongly-worded report, Care says it should be acknowledged that Afghanistan's security vacuum will not resolve itself and that urgent international attention is needed.

US soldier near Bagram air base
International forces play a key security role

For the first time in years, the report says, Afghan communities actually have something to lose.

Threats come from fighters opposed to the internationally backed government in Kabul, from the leaders of armed militias controlling large parts of the country, and from criminals cashing in on the security vacuum.

A new Afghan army and police force are currently being trained by the US, France and Germany, but Care warns that it will take many years to train sufficient Afghan recruits.

Many of those who have been trained so far have deserted because of poor pay and conditions.

No extension

Aid agencies are also concerned about American plans to involve US soldiers in coordinating reconstruction projects in eastern Afghanistan.

The Americans say this will help to win Afghan hearts and minds in this unsettled part of the country.

But Care says that coalition forces should concentrate on maintaining peace.

To address these security problems, Care recommends increased support for army and police training programmes, and the establishment of an international security force in key locations outside Kabul.

But countries contributing to the international force, already in the capital, have said repeatedly they would not extend their operations outside the city.

Meanwhile, US special forces recovered more than 300 rockets during operations in eastern Afghanistan, military spokesman Colonel Roger King told reporters on Tuesday.

US forces had recovered another large cache of arms and explosives in Jalalabad on Friday.


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25 Dec 02 | South Asia
19 Dec 02 | South Asia
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04 Dec 02 | South Asia
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