Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) program was started back in October of 2003 with the aim of disarming of Afghanistan's militias. The DDR-program started in Kunduz, a province in the north that borders Uzbekistan, where some Afghans really intended to start a new life. Some others merely wanted to cash in on the incentives provided (usually a good amount of cash and some food). But as the Candian Press is reporting, the DDR program isn't exactly a dashing succes.

About 100 army officers, most of them highly skilled rocket and electrical engineers who were on the brink of retirement, refused to sign their discharge papers Monday at a ceremony intended to mark Afghanistan's demilitarization.

The ceremony outside Kabul marked commencement of the main phase of the country's disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, or DDR, program. But with the deputy defence minister in attendance, along with the Japanese ambassador, whose country is sponsoring the attempt to disarm mainly Afghan militias and demobilize 100,000 of their troops, the officers balked.

During the two-hour ceremony, which included patriotic music and speeches, the first of 62 Soviet-made anti-aircraft missiles belonging to 99 Rocket Brigade were hauled off to a cantonement site about 40 kilometres away. But the supposedly retiring officers, who are not militiamen, said the whole process was a charade. They had no intention of walking away from their jobs, they said, and the missiles were all duds, disarmed and rendered useless years ago. Many of the five-metre rockets were badly damaged, riddled with shrapnel and bullet holes or bent and twisted out of shape.

"They are taking these weapons but these weapons are not functioning," said one. "They have no explosives or propellant; they can't be used."
The DDR process is not simply a "hand-in-your-weapons" program. There are incentives, like I mentioned, such as food and money. It gives Afghans a chance to rejoin mainstream society (or what's left of it) and to contribute in the rebuilding of their country. Those who turn in their weapons can receive free education and vocational training. Many have become policemen, deminers or have joined the Afghan National Army.

Though these incentives may work at times for footsoldiers, they won't convince Afghanistan's warlords. They're thinking that if they can keep their weapons until after the September elections, they'll be in the clear. And if the DDR program fails, that may just happen.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arash,

The problem with many of the programs in Afghanistan is that they have not been carefully designed. People respond to incentives, however, creating those incentives is far from straightforward.

For example, I saw a Frontline documentary on an Arab who was working for the CIA. He mentioned that many of the people swept up in raids and taken to Gitmo were innocent, and that their families had turned them in only to collect the bounty offered by the US military. This was sometimes done with the person's consent. In other words, putting up a bounty on all Taliban and Al-Qaeda sympathisors often can be quite uncontructive in a very poor country, where it is very easy to level such an accusation. And if that's all one needs to do to make a buck, well you can bet many will lie to pay for next month's food bill.

Regards,
SHAITAANGUL

www.afghanblog.net

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Belief is the back-up system of desire. It keep the fires of enthusiasm burning and makes us continually strive to get nearer the goal attainment. Faith can truly move mountains; the mountains of fear, inferiority, worry and low self esteem - 'the success killers'!
Once a goal is firmly fixed in mind and our desire-force is hurtling us toward seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the firm belief that we can gain a favourable outcome can spur us on to victory. When the mind has been manipulated to reflect this state, wonderful physical results can ensue, producing symptoms of success in our lives in every area imaginable.
Although many can attest to the power of belief and to the wondrous accomplishments that were achieved through nothing else except faith, it still remains that many individuals find it hard to believe that a positive outcome will be forthcoming when they are faced with momentous opposition. Whether the opposition is mental or physical the fact that nothing seems to be going right and everything seems to be wrong is enough for even the strongest of us to 'throw in the towel'. But it is in these very situations that faith can conquer all. Faith in yourself, what you are doing and belief that that your objective will be reached.
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Having decided upon your goal and being determined to build your faith you need to give your desire-force a 'vehicle' through which it may materialize. This 'vehicle' will take the form of a definite plan of action.
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