RealNews

Projects Put Strain On Afghan Province

On a windblown field, 300 leathery men listened Saturday to speeches praising their past bravery in battle and their current contribution to peace. Behind them, standing in soldierly rows, were rocket launchers, artillery and machine guns the former fighters were reluctantly surrendering to international peacekeepers. By most standards, Wardak province should be a model for the rest of Afghanistan. It is the only place in the country where militia disarmament, poppy eradication and voter registration — three efforts backed by the United Nations and Western governments — are taking place simultaneously. But some residents say they feel this ruggedly beautiful, impoverished province is less a showcase than a victim. They complain that it has been singled out for unpopular projects demanded by international powers because it is close to Kabul, economically vulnerable and without a dominant leader to resist the pressure. Full Story

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