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
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.
In 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
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
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.