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Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 18:13 UK

Tight security at Afghan ceremony

By Martin Vennard
BBC News

Afghan children play on a Russian tank in Herat
Remains of the Soviet occupation can be seen all over the country

Police have been deployed in the Afghan capital, Kabul, as a ceremony is held to mark the 17th anniversary of the overthrow of the Communist government.

On the same day last year militants tried to assassinate President Hamid Karzai, who has decided to scale down this year's commemorative events.

The day when Kabul finally fell to the mujahideen is usually marked in the Afghan capital by a military parade.

But the government says its budget can be better spent elsewhere.

Ascent of Taleban

It said it would donate the money it would have spent to victims of recent floods and an earthquake in Afghanistan.

Security in Kabul on 28 April
Security was tight even though the celebrations were low-key

But that was not the only reason for calling off the parade.

At last year's event militants killed three people as they tried to assassinate President Karzai.

And the security forces have been deployed at prominent locations throughout the capital this year.

On Monday, 12 militants and a police officer were killed in clashes just to the south of Kabul.

While the decision to call off the parade has been welcomed by some, it has not been popular with everyone.

Some former members of the mujahideen say the authorities are not treating the anniversary with sufficient respect.

As part of the low-key celebrations, Mr Karzai hosted a meal for dignitaries at the presidential palace.

While events 17 years ago marked the end of the Communist government, which had been backed by Soviet troops, they also led to the Taleban's ascent to power.

The mujahideen agreed to form a government, but the factional fighting that followed allowed the Taleban to gain control in 1996.



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