Nations to gather in Tokyo, discuss aid for Afghanistan to disarm warlords, train army
Wed Feb 19, 4:03 AM ET By KENJI HALL, Associated Press Writer
TOKYO - International donors are expected to announce tens of millions of dollars in fresh aid for Afghanistan this weekend to help President Hamid Karzai extend control over his war-torn country by disarming warlords and training security forces.
Major donors — including Japan, the United States, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank — are to attend a conference on Afghan aid in Tokyo on Saturday, Japan's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Karzai and the United Nations' top envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, are to address the gathering, in which 45 donor countries and international organizations are to participate, the ministry said in a statement.
The conference comes as Karzai tries to rein in heavily armed local warlords and extend his authority outside Kabul, the capital.
Last month, the Afghan government said it had created special committees to find ways to disarm warlords, recruit a national army and employ demobilized fighters in public works and other government projects — all vital in restoring stability.
Japan will bankroll much of the US$50 million needed to carry out the Afghan government's plans. The United Nations announced in Kabul on Wednesday that Tokyo had already pledged US$35 million.
Other countries were expected to hear Karzai and Brahimi speak before deciding how much money to offer.
At a Tokyo conference in January last year, international donors promised US$4.5 billion for Afghanistan's reconstruction over several years, including an estimated US$1.8 billion for the first year, which has already been spent. The United Nations has said it could cost up to US$15 billion over 10 years to rebuild the country.
Broadening the government's authority beyond Kabul is seen as one of Karzai's biggest challenges.
His government has control of Kabul, which is patrolled by a multinational force, and is training a national army with the help of U.S. advisers.
But most of the countryside is dominated by regional warlords with huge armies, which threaten to plunge the country into civil war.
Afghanistan's national army currently numbers only about 2,000 troops — far short of the force of 70,000 the government wants to have in two years.
Restoring order isn't the country's only problem.
About two-thirds of Afghan adults are illiterate, half of the children are malnourished and only about 6 percent of the population has electricity. About 3,000 people are maimed by land mines every year, according to the Red Cross.
Afghanistan receives aid boost
Wednesday February 19, 10:41 PM
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan has received nearly $100 million (63 million pounds) in aid pledges to cover projects including disarming militias and stamping out drugs.
The United States said on Wednesday it would provide $60 million to train a national police force and a campaign to wipe out drugs in what is one of the world's top producers.
The agreement for the projects, which also partially covers reforms of the judiciary, was signed by Zalmai Rasoul, top adviser on national security affairs in President Hamid Karzai's government, and U.S. ambassador to Kabul Robert Finn.
The U.S. aid comes ahead of a meeting between Karzai and U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington later this month.
In a separate deal on Wednesday, Japan agreed to provide $35 million for a project to disarm militias, a programme seen as crucial for the country's peace and stability.
The United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) will manage the funds for the project, which is designed to find job opportunities and sources of income for hundreds of thousands of men who belong to scores of armed militias.
Additional pledges amounting to about $27 million have come from other nations, officials said. Ultimately, about $140 million will be spent on the disarmament programme.
"I hope this contribution will substantially help Afghanistan's people to promote DDR (demilitarisation, demobilisation and re-integration)," Nobutaka Miyahara, Japan's charge d'affaires in Kabul, said after the signing ceremony.
"At the same time we call on other donors to support Afghanistan's people in DDR as Japan did."
The plan, under which up to 250,000 militiamen are supposed to hand in their weapons in exchange for cash, vocational training and help in finding work, will unfold in parallel with the building of a new national army.
The project is part of a drive by Karzai's government to extend its influence over the whole country and bring a patchwork of individual fiefdoms under central control.
Karzai is keen to complete the disarmament project before national elections expected to be held in June 2004.
Nigel Fisher, the UNDP's chief representative in Afghanistan, described the process of disarming the former soldiers as difficult and complex.
"I think today is an important day, it is another milestone step in Afghanistan's progress towards stability and devolopment," Fisher said.
Few in Afghanistan believe the regional warlords, who control much of the country after the fall of the fundamentalist Taliban regime in 2001, will give up arms easily.
A disarmament programme in the north in the middle of last year ended up with bigger commanders forcing smaller ones to surrender arms to them.
Karzai's writ is seen restricted to Kabul, which is guarded by a 4,500-strong international peacekeeping force.
Japan to offer financial aid at meeting on former Afghan soldiers
Wednesday February 19, 1:18 PM AFP
Japan plans to offer financial aid this weekend at a Tokyo conference to discuss the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants in Afghanistan.
"We are making preparations" to announce financial assistance, a government official said without giving a likely sum.
The process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants, or DDR, is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.
Japan is to host a one-day conference in Tokyo on Saturday to discuss concrete measures to promote DDR, inviting 35 countries and 10 international organisations.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to visit Japan from Thursday to attend the conference. He will also meet Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on Friday.
Karzai first visited Japan in January last year for a donors conference on Afghan reconstruction that secured pledges of 4.5 billion US dollars over five years from around the world.
Tokyo at the time vowed to provide Afghanistan with up to 500 million dollars over the next two and a half years for a variety of humanitarian and economic revival projects.
Karzai in U.S. to Stress Terror Threat
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai will seek further help from the international community to quell remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda during a trip to the United States, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Islamic militants remain a threat in war-ravaged Afghanistan, and during his meetings in Washington Karzai will stress the need for sustained efforts to hunt them down, ministry spokesman Omar Samad told a news conference.
Concern has grown in Afghanistan that the U.S. focus is shifting to Iraq where Washington is gearing for war to force Saddam Hussein to disarm.
Afghans say Washington and its allies lost interest in the country after the former Soviet Union withdrew in 1989 and it soon turned into a battleground between warlords until it was taken over by the fundamentalist Taliban.
``We all know terrorism and extremism put together is still a viable threat,'' Samad said. ``They may have lost their bases, their networks may have been disrupted but they have taken on a different shape.
``Almost every day we see certain actions by terrorist elements, very small groups.''
The U.S.-backed Karzai, who starts his foreign tour on Thursday with a visit to Japan, will hold talks with U.S. President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He will also attend a conference of Non-Aligned Nations in Kuala Lumpur and fly to New Delhi on the final leg of a tour lasting nearly two weeks.
Thousands of U.S.-led international soldiers remain deployed in Afghanistan, more than one year after the Taliban and al Qaeda, blamed for the attacks on the New York and Washington, were toppled from power and fled the cities.
Coalition forces have yet to kill or capture al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden or Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
``We think it requires extra effort on everyone's part, especially those countries which are still hideouts or transit routes for terrorist elements,'' Samad said, adding that Kabul had asked neighboring Pakistan to ensure the militants do not find sanctuary there.
Samad said Washington had repeatedly assured Karzai's transitional administration that it would remain committed to the country's stability despite a preoccupation with Iraq and North Korea.
``We feel very strongly they will keep their promise, we are all in the same boat.'' he said. ``It will be a failure for everyone if commitments are not kept.''
U.S. Applies Financial Sanctions to Hekmatyar
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday froze any U.S. assets held by former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on the grounds that he has taken part in ``terrorist acts'' by al Qaeda and the Taliban.
``Because of his terrorist activity, the United States is designating Hekmatyar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under the authority of Executive Order 13224,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a statement.
``The U.S. government has information indicating that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has participated in and supported terrorist acts committed by al Qaeda and the Taliban,'' he added.
Designation means that financial institutions must block all Hekmatyar's property in the United States, if any, and it is illegal for anyone in the United States to give Hekmetyar any money or perform any service for him.
Hekmatyar is a veteran of the Afghan guerrilla war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and played an important role in the fighting between Mujahideen leaders after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. His forces bombarded and destroyed large parts of the center of Kabul, killing thousands.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan have in recent weeks been attacking forces loyal to Hekmatyar, who opposes the Karzai government that took over after the United States overthrew the Taliban government in 2001.
Boucher said the United States would ask the United nations to include Hekmatyar on its list of groups and individuals associated with al Qaeda, the Taliban and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. That would oblige all U.N. members to impose sanctions, including the freezing for their assets.
Afghan Weapons Work Requires Diplomacy
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) The explosives were set, the soldiers' guns were drawn and the 15-minute countdown had began to blow a cache of abandoned rockets to kingdom come.
But no one expected a herd of goats and their minders to walk nearby and the countdown was rescheduled.
American troops are facing a delicate task as they rid largely rural Afghanistan of heavy weapons left behind after decades of war, mixing diplomatic skill and care handling explosives.
The soldiers of the 82nd Airborne's Task Force Dragon put their demolition work north of their headquarters at Bagram Air Base on hold while they negotiated with the herders.
``Tango, Base. Tango, Base,'' Sgt. Arnel Udani barked into his radio once the Afghans were spotted. ``Alpha Zero One. We have three local nationals approaching. They don't appear to be armed. Over.''
Capt. Steven Janko of Honolulu stopped the countdown. He and another soldier approached the herders with their assault weapons pointing downward. The remaining soldiers stiffened in readiness. Was it an ambush?
A tense moment soon evaporated when both soldiers returned in smiles.
Janko had exhausted the little Dari he had learned in Afghanistan by repeating the word ``boro'' which means ``go'' and pointing to his watch to warn the herders a big explosion was imminent.
``We want to keep good relations with the people in the area,'' Janko said. ``I greeted them with 'Salaam' and put my hand over my heart, and immediately they knew 'OK, this guy doesn't have any hostile intent.'''
The discussion had been cordial, he said. There was much hand shaking and sign language.
As the herders slowly moved further away across the Shomali Plain, the countdown was restarted. The soldiers were eager to destroy the cache of nine 107-mm rocket shells and more than a dozen fuses.
Similar weaponry some used, some new, some disassembled appear almost weekly on mountainsides surrounding Bagram and other U.S. bases in Afghanistan. The military discovers new caches from aerial reconnoissance or tips from Afghans.
``The last time we were here, there were four rockets set up on the top of that mountain, aimed directly at the base,'' Janko said. ``If somebody else finds them before we do, they could possibly be launched against us.''
Such rockets and mortars are often very old legacies of more than two decades of war in Afghanistan. The missiles rarely hit their targets if fired, but U.S. soldiers don't want to take any chances.
It was the job of Sgt. 1st Class Chris Brown and Sgt. William Martin of the 705th Ordinance Disposal Company to evaluate the current cache once the perimeter was secured. Both walked gingerly, in case there were any booby-traps or land mines.
Brown and Martin got down on their knees to peer into the 107-mm shells baking in the sun. They pulled out detonation cords and layered 32 blocks of C4 explosives on the cache. Martin whistled softly as he worked.
The decision was made to blow up as many shells as possible since even old ordnance can be reconfigured into something deadly. The latest cache was found just four miles from the base; a 107-mm rocket has a range of up to 10 kilometers.
Brown, a munitions veteran for 14 years, has a grudging respect for the unseen and unknown men who transform the shells into new weapons before fleeing into the darkness. A few days ago, he came across a makeshift rocket that used water as a time release.
``They filled a bucket up and punched a hole in there,'' said Brown, of Houston. ``They had a plunger that when it came down and made contact, it closed a circuit and launched the rocket.''
With the goatherders safely gone and the charges ready, it was time to blow the stash.
The soldiers hiked to a nearby, dried-out river bed and took cover. They passed around their personal cameras and posed for the folks back home. The 10-minute warning was announced, then the five, then the one. Martin detonated the cache by remote control.
``Incoming!'' he yelled as the boom shook the ground. Smoke and dust from the blast blocked out the sun for a moment.
``Well, hell, that was great,'' said Martin.
``I love my job,'' said Brown as he waited for a Black Hawk to ferry him back to Bagram.
Rain and snow kill 77 in South Asia
Thursday February 20, 1:29 AM
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Four days of deadly winter rain and snow sweeping across Pakistan, Afghanistan and India have killed at least 77 people, officials and state media have reported.
The state-run Pakistan Television said at least 62 people had been killed in Pakistan alone and hundreds of houses destroyed in the heaviest winter rain in three decades.
It said nine people were killed on Wednesday in the town of Abbottabad, 60 km (40 miles) north of Islamabad and another five in Havalian, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital, when their houses collapsed.
On Tuesday night, at least 12 people, including three children, were killed and six injured when a truck loaded with cement sacks overturned and crushed a minibus about 100 km (60 miles) north of Quetta.
In the Indian-ruled part of Kashmir, meanwhile, four people, including a child, died after heavy snowfall caused several houses to collapse north of Srinigar.
Officials there said three other people had died in the region in the past 24 hours as a result of heavy rains and snowfall.
Six to seven feet of snow were recorded in northern Kashmir and life in many parts of the Kashmir Valley ground to a near halt as snow blocked roads and cut power supplies.
Six weather-related deaths were reported in Afghanistan earlier in the week and another two in India.
While deadly, the rains have also brought relief to many rural parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have suffered several years of destructive drought, the worst in memory.
Meteorologists in Pakistan say the rains have soaked drought-hit areas in Pakistan, including the Thar desert in Sindh province and Cholistan in Punjab province.
Mine Injures U.S. Soldier in Afghanistan
Wed Feb 19,10:15 AM ET By AARON FAVILA, Associated Press Writer
BAGRAM, Afghanistan - A U.S. soldier was injured in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday when the military vehicle he was traveling in struck a land-mine, the U.S. military said.
The soldier was patrolling near the eastern city of Gardez when the incident occurred. The soldier was taken to an American base farther east in Khost and treated there.
The soldier's right foot was blown off by the explosion, the military said in a statement from Bagram Air Base, north of the capital, Kabul.
"He is in currently undergoing surgery at the forward operating base in Khost and is in stable condition," the statement said.
The statement did not identify the soldier or his unit.
Meanwhile, a lone gunman opened fire on U.S. Special Forces in Urgun in eastern Afghanistan, military spokeswoman Capt. Alayne Cramer said at Bagram. No one was hurt, but Urgun has been a particularly tense area for special forces operating there, who have faced regular attacks. Usually the gunmen, who operate in small groups, flee the area, often into neighboring Pakistan.
There have been reports from former Taliban that fresh training camps have been set up in the mountainous Urgun area of Paktika province. The camps are small and mobile, they say. The United Nations also confirmed reports of new training camps in eastern Afghanistan.
The military was also investigating the origins of two explosions that rattled the area outside a U.S. military compound in northern Kunduz province late Tuesday. No one was hurt in the blasts.
Fire destroys observation post outside US military headquarters in Afghanistan
Wed Feb 19, 2:45 AM ET By AARON FAVILA, Associated Press Writer
BAGRAM, Afghanistan - A fire roared through an observation post outside the headquarters of the U.S. military in Bagram Air Base, forcing a quick evacuation, a U.S. military spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The cause of Tuesday's fire wasn't known and no one was injured. There were no immediate indications that the blaze was the result of enemy fire, said U.S. military spokeswoman Capt. Alayne Cramer.
The military was investigating the origins of two explosions that rattled the area outside a U.S. military compound in northern Kunduz province late Tuesday. No one was hurt in the blasts.
Meanwhile, a lone gunman opened fire on U.S. Special Forces in Urgun in eastern Afghanistan, Cramer said. No one was hurt, but Urgun has been a particularly tense area for U.S. Special Forces operating there, who have faced regular attacks. Usually the gunmen, who operate in small groups, flee the area, often into neighboring Pakistan.
There have been reports from former Taliban that fresh training camps have been set up in the mountainous Urgun area of Paktika province. The camps are small and mobile, they say. The United Nations also confirmed reports of new training camps in eastern Afghanistan.
In southern Helmand province, U.S. Special forces were consolidating their troops in the Baghran valley, where they are trying to flush out Taliban fugitives believed to be hiding there. Villagers reported several civilian casualties in the Baghran Valley since Operation Eagle Fury began there about one week ago. The U.S. military said it had no reports of civilian deaths.
Two explosions rock northern Afghan city: report
KABUL, Feb 19 (AFP) - Two explosions believed to have been caused by bombs shook the northern Afghan city of Kunduz but there were no casualties, a report said Wednesday.
The private Hindokosh news agency said the blasts occurred late Tuesday, one near the headquarters of a local army division and another near the offices of international agencies in the city.
It said four people have been arrested in connection with the suspected attacks.
The explosions follow a spate of attacks on foreign agencies across Afghanistan, particularly the south, blamed on Taliban and al-Qaeda extremists or supporters of rebel warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami party.
Afghanistan: Special report on displaced people in the south
ZHARE DASHT, 19 February (IRIN) - A cloud of flies erupts from Nasruddin's wheelbarrow as he holds up the stomach lining of a cow he is trying to sell. "Would you eat this? I have to feed this to my son," he told IRIN in the Zhare Dasht camp for internally displaced people (IDPs), 30 km west of the southern city of Kandahar.
Six months after the controversial site was opened, the camp is home to nearly 27,000 IDPs, with most having no option but to stay in the harsh desert environment. For some, drought means they have nowhere to shift to, but for many the main barrier to moving on is the insecurity elsewhere in the country.
People like Nasruddin were desperate to get away from their homes. He is one of thousands of ethnic Pashtuns who fled northern Afghanistan a year ago. They claim they were harassed, robbed and threatened by Uzbeks and Tajiks who wanted revenge after five years of war with the Pashtun-dominated Taliban.
Born in Meymaneh, southwest of the main northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, Nasruddin said the different ethnic groups had lived happily together in the past, but the Uzbeks obtained many weapons after the fall of the Taliban and used them to intimidate the Pashtuns.
"We will never forget the cruel treatment and having to leave our homes. How would you like it if I took you from your comfortable car and put you in a tent here? How would you feel?" Many of the escaping Afghans fled to the Pashtun-dominated south, ending up in camps at Spin Buldak near the southeastern border with Pakistan.
With the Afghan government and aid agencies concerned over conditions and security there, most were then moved to the new, supposedly temporary, camp at Zhare Dasht, only to endure more misery. Since October, 11,000 individuals have been relocated from the Spin Buldak camps, but the convoys ground to a halt after Eid. Another 15,000 people had been repatriated to their homes elsewhere in Afghanistan.
Prior to the opening of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) administered camp at Zhare Dasht, human rights activists, journalists and some NGOs had complained about the location of the new site, describing it as being in the middle of a minefield, leaving those in the camp totally dependent on aid.
While an extensive mine-education programme has seen that danger minimised, the main problem facing those arriving at the camp is the lack of work. Each family receives 50 kg of wheat, 10 litres of heating fuel, five litres of cooking oil, four bars of soap and 12 kg of lentils a month from the UNHCR, but many still struggle to make ends meet, according to camp residents.
A UNHCR spokeswoman, Maki Shinohara, told IRIN in the capital, Kabul, that the issue of the displaced Pashtuns was political as well as humanitarian, with militias controlling large areas of the country. "It's still chaotic. There is a rule of gun up in the north," she said, adding that it was a question of how the government could bring peace and security to the area so Pashtuns felt it was safe to return. "To unravel the past history of hatred is going to take some time."
Disarmament, along with the provision of proper jobs, were vital to solving the problem, but she estimated it would take years before many Pashtuns would leave the south for their homes.
Some issues around security in the north are being addressed. UNHCR has been able to help establish a commission involving the government and northern authorities looking at claims of harassment and land confiscation in the north.
But many NGOs are adamant that until the security situation in Afghanistan is dealt with, it will be extremely difficult to get people to move on from the camps. "I don't see the overwhelming majority of people moving for a couple of years unless there's a much bigger effort to put into other strategies," Cassandra Nelson, the senior media and communications officer for Mercy Corps, told IRIN from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. She said many places had been bombed out, had no water, animals or education, and NGOs and donors had to address these and other problems.
But security, which Nelson said had got much worse in the last few months, remains the major concern. She said it would be a decade before the Afghan government had an army and police force that could provide security, so in the interim the job had to be done by international forces and neutral peacekeepers.
With 90 percent of the country still run by militias with no loyalty to the central government, not only were groups like the northern Pashtuns likely to remain displaced but aid agencies would have to struggle to implement programmes.
Seventy five-year-old Hazrat, who escaped from his home in the northwestern province of Faryab with his wife and four children, but no possessions, now worries he could die in the camp at Zhare Dasht. "This shouldn't have happened to me. We are six people and have one tent. It's a disaster. But I am not angry. I can't do anything. I'm tired of this, I'm sad. God can deal with them," he lamented.
Gul Sahib's house in Faryab Province was also looted and he lost 1,600 sheep when vengeful Uzbeks raided his home following the fall of the Taliban. With his seven children, he headed towards Pakistan, but ended up in a camp at Spin Buldak before being shifted to Zhare Dasht.
"Even with the problems here, at least we are safe, thank God," he told IRIN. However, he said finding work was very hard. "At the moment we have no hopes, because there is no peace in our homes. If there is peace we will see. If it stays like this, with fighting, we will never go back," he said standing outside his UNHCR-donated tent. In a sign that he is settling in for the long term, Sahib has been making mud bricks to build a semi-permanent house.
Back near the border with Pakistan at Spin Buldak camp, conditions remain bleak for the 30,000-odd inmates. Some are there because of the four-year drought, some are Kuchi nomad IDPs who have no chance of resuming their wandering lifestyle.
Despite the hardships, many IDPs are reluctant to move from Spin Buldak, as it is seen as a better location for employment opportunities, and UNHCR's Shinohara maintained that movement from the Spin Buldak camps remained voluntary. "The government doesn't want people there, but a lot of the people can't go home at the moment," she said. A spell of extremely bad weather in December had ironically seen people staying at Spin Buldak because more aid was being distributed there.
Despite clinics being run by Medecins Sans Frontieres, (MSF) and supplementary feeding programmes from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), health was becoming more of a problem, and schools had closed down, leaving children with no access to education.
But sitting in the four-metre by two-metre tent he shares with seven other family members, Nematullah told IRIN in Spin Buldak that he could not move to Zhare Dasht because he had run up debts of nearly US $200 with local doctors and shopkeepers. "We would like to go, but until we find some money or jobs it is not possible."
He estimated that about three-quarters of the people in the border camps were in a similar situation. Many had sold the blankets, quilts and heating stoves they had been given by UNHCR to pay for other things.
Forced to move to the camp when the well in his village dried up a year ago, Nematullah explained that the country's devastating drought had pushed people from his village to move to the border and said daily life was becoming increasingly difficult. The tents offered little protection from the cold and occasional rain, and there was often not enough food for all his family. "We are getting just enough to stay alive - or stay somewhere between being alive and dead," he said. But more than anything, what they wanted was for the drought to end. "With rain, we can solve 95 percent of our problems," he added.
Aid agencies are trying to concentrate long-term efforts on Zhare Dasht. "Eventually, support to the Spin Buldak camps will come to an end," Douglas Higgins, the UNICEF programme officer in Kandahar, told IRIN.
UNICEF had dug wells, distributed shoes, set up schools and was providing feeding and nutrition for women and young children, as well as vaccination programmes. Higgins said children had died during a cold snap in December due to a mixture of acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea.
While the extraordinarily icy temperatures may have had some effect, the deaths could not be attributed to these alone, Higgins said. However, he believed that improved health services could have prevented some deaths.
There was also often no local network of trained medical people who could use resources and cope with the needs. "It was an incredible cold snap and we were caught off guard," he added.
Meanwhile, those at Zhare Dasht are unlikely to go home until they feel they will be safe in the north or until the drought situation improves.
"We cannot live here. Please, take the guns from the Uzbeks if you really want to help. Everyone is trying to take power in Afghanistan. The warlords should hand over their weapons to [President Hamid] Karzai, take their pattoos [blankets] and go back to being normal men. We can't fight back - we don't even have enough food to eat," Nasruddin pleaded.
Humanitarian consequences of war
Source: CARE 19 Feb 2003
For more than 50 years, CARE has helped people survive war and rebuild in its aftermath. This work is integral to our poverty-fighting mission because the brutal consequences of war last long after the guns are silent. People cannot overcome poverty when their village has been plundered, when the schoolhouse has been bombed or when the fields' only fruits are deadly landmines.
From the very beginning, CARE has been a beacon of hope for those who have seen their communities and livelihoods destroyed by violent conflict. Following World War II, our CARE Packages went out to survivors in Europe and, later, Asia. Without regard to nationality or political beliefs, CARE reached out to those in need. To those who had suffered the most. To those who wished only for peace and a return to the lives they once knew.
CARE's enduring commitment to aiding victims of war is evident around the world. In this special section of our Web site, we'll give you a closer look at our recent work in four countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq and Sudan. Each of these nations faces a unique crisis, yet each shares common characteristics. Most significantly, each nation has had its population displaced and suffered destruction of homes, businesses, roads, schools and water systems. The very fabric of society has been torn. But through it all, CARE has been working in each of these countries to ensure that hope and opportunity do not become casualties of war.
Afghanistan - Even before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Afghanistan was suffering the effects of more than two decades of conflict and an oppressive regime. CARE responded with food distribution, home schooling, small economic activity development programs and reconstruction of homes, roads and irrigation and water systems. In the post-Taliban era, CARE has tripled our project portfolio, while also advocating on behalf of the country's poor and helping Afghan families obtain the resources they need to rebuild their communities and their lives.
Angola - More than 1.5 million people were killed and nearly 2 million were displaced during Angola's 25-year civil war. CARE's programs work to rebuild communities, restore economic livelihoods and recover huge tracts of farmland and roads that were rendered useless by millions of landmines.
Iraq* - Since the Gulf War, conditions in Iraq have deteriorated drastically. CARE's programs seek to address critical humanitarian needs in food, water and health.
Sudan - In addition to development and rehabilitation programs in agriculture, education, the environment and primary health care, CARE has been a strong advocate for a just resolution to the ongoing civil war that has divided Sudan in two. CARE is encouraged by recent peace talks, and we are continuing our efforts to promote an end to conflict in Sudan.
* CARE's programs in Iraq are managed by CARE Australia, a fellow member of the CARE International Federation.
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