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Yearbook 2002

Afghanistan. Afghanistan took several steps towards peace and normality in 2002, but the legacy of the Taliban regime and the civil war was constantly reminded. A series of serious incidents showed that peace is far from being secured.

2002 Afghanistan

According to Countryaah website, the ISAF international force of about 4,500 was stationed in January in and around Kabul to protect the new government. The capital's airport was reopened and civil air traffic got underway. The Democratic Constitution of 1964 was provisionally put into operation, which included meant that freedom of the press was guaranteed.

2002 AfghanistanIn February, the training of soldiers began for a new army, which in the long term is intended to guarantee stability in the country. In March, thousands of schools were reopened and up to 1.8 million children could begin the spring term. The education, which was severely neglected during the Taliban, became one of the most important tasks of the provisional regime.

In northern Afghanistan, however, Pashtuns suffered severe persecution as revenge for the Taliban's repression. Tens of thousands of Pashtuns fled south. In March, US and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan fought for several weeks against Taliban soldiers and members of the al-Qaeda terror network. Constant attacks and threatening leaflets in mainly the eastern provinces reminded that the Taliban remained.

In February, Abdul Rahman was murdered at Kabul Airport. The murder was suspected to be a settlement between government factions, which gave a warning signal about the tensions within the provisional regime. Defense Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim was attacked during a visit to Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan in April. Four civilians were killed when a bomb exploded near Fahim's car.

In April, ex-wife Zahir Shah returned to Kabul after nearly 29 years in exile in Italy. The return was postponed several weeks after reports of murder threats against the 87-year-old monarch. Nearly 300 people who were reported to have ties to the Taliban-friendly former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were arrested in Kabul.

In the spring, elections were held for the council bill, Loya Jirga, which gathered in June in Kabul to elect a head of state and a new transitional government. Loya jirga also had quoted places for women, religious leaders, refugees, nomads and other groups. Provisional government leader Hamid Karzai was elected president by a large majority for the next 18 months, but thereafter the agreement was over. Many delegates complained that the warlords who were to blame for Afghanistan's decline had too much influence over the Council meeting and that there were threats and pressures. Although Karzai tried to broaden the transition government's ethnic composition, the new minister also came to be dominated by the Tajiks from the so-called Northern Alliance, who have been at the forefront of resistance to the Taliban.

Shortly after the Council meeting, Vice President Abdul Qadir was assassinated. In September, at least 26 people were killed by a car bomb in Kabul. On the same day, Hamid Karzai was subjected to a murder attempt during a visit to Qandahar, southern Afghanistan. Because of the dangerous situation in the country, Karzai has only been using US bodyguards for a few months.

Continued US bomb attacks fueled dissatisfaction with the transitional government and its dependence on foreign soldiers. In July, forty people were killed when US flights bombed a wedding party in the province of Uruzgan.

Meanwhile, local armed settlements were going on between rival warlords, especially in the provinces of Paktia in the east and Samangan in the north. The government had little opportunity to quell these unrest and the major powers of the UN Security Council rejected all appeals for the ISAF security force to be expanded and stationed around the country. The government was also powerless in the face of the opium land, which has gained momentum following the fall of the Taliban. Opium production for 2002 was estimated at 3,400 tonnes, compared to only 185 tonnes in 2001.

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