RealNews

Afghans yet to lay down arms

The tank battles that claimed nearly 60 lives up in Mazar-e Sharif last week were some of the fiercest since the fall of the Taliban two years ago.

Unlike most recent fights in Afghanistan, this one did not take place between Afghan forces and the resurgent Taliban, but between the armies of two warlords who in theory both owe allegiance to the Afghan Defense Ministry, to the Northern Alliance, and to the US-led forces.In practice, however, Gen. Rashid Dostum and Gen. Atta Mohammad are bitter rivals, and their personal enmity could end up destabilizing a region which has traditionally been a major engine of the Afghan economy. For diplomats and Afghan officials, it was just another sign that the country’s effort to disarm warlords is moving too slowly, giving factional commanders the power to speed up or slow down the country’s reconstruction at will. Full Story

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