Timeline of Afghanistan (February 2003)

Timeline of Afghanistan (February 2003)

__NOTOC__This is a timeline of the history of Afghanistan in February 2003. The list is not complete and you are welcome to expand it.

"Saturday, February 1, 2003"

The Afghan Presidential Protective Service began assisting U.S. agents to protect Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The U.S. base in Gardez, Afghanistan was designated as the location of a coordination center for reconstruction projects in the region.

Eight people were arrested in connection with an explosion that destroyed a minibus in southern Afghanistan on January 31, killing 15.

"Sunday, February 2, 2003"

As part of a global U.N. campaign to cut deaths among mothers and new-born children, UNICEF began a week long project to vaccinate 740,000 women in four major Afghan cities.

"Monday, February 3, 2003"

A private memo was sent from Canadian deputy chief, Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison to the chief of the Canadian defense staff, Gen. Ray Henault, saying that command of the United Nations forces in Afghanistan was "not viable with Canada as the lead nation" without multinational support. Canada was scheduled to take over command in August, 2003.

Nabil Okal, an Israeli military court sentenced a Palestinian man to 27 years in prison for training in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda. Okal said he was innocent.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghanistan remained the world's largest producer of opium poppy despite efforts to stop trade and cultivation.

U.S. troops with the 82nd Airborne Division completed clearing more than 75 caves in the Adi Ghar mountain of Afghanistan.

"Tuesday, February 4, 2003"

Afghan government forces clashed with suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in the mountainous area of Shawali Kot north of the city of Kandahar. Two Dutch F-16 aircraft bombed the cave complex as part of a follow-up to the attack.

Twenty female teachers from Afghanistan began a one-month training course at five women's universities in Japan. The program was sponsored by the Foreign Ministry-affiliated Japan International Cooperation Agency.

"Wednesday, February 5, 2003"

Helge Boes, a CIA counterterrorism officer, was killed and two wounded in a grenade accident during a live fire exercise in eastern Afghanistan.

"Thursday, February 6, 2003"

Within 500-700 yards of the perimeter of Bagram air base, factional fighting flared up between rival Afghan groups. The fighting involved mortar or rocket-propelled grenade fire as well as small arms.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers and the head of the U.S. Permanent Mission, Ambassador Kevin Moley, signed agreements for U.S. contributions for humanitarian needs of $15 million for Afghanistan and $12.1 million for Iraq.

"Friday, February 7, 2003"

United States troops were fired upon while they were searching a compound southwest of Gardez, Afghanistan in an early morning operation following an intelligence report. There were no casualties on either side.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a security post in Chotu village, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, killing five Afghan soldiers and kidnapping two others.

Kabul residents reported a man on a bicycle dispersed leaflets from a previously unknown Islamic group (called Pious Mujahideen (holy warriors) of Islam) demanding the immediate departure of U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan and a return to a strict Islamic dress code for women.

A report by the Post-Conflict Assessment Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme revealed that 99% of the Sistan wetlands in Afghanistan and Iran were dried out.

Rebels attacked an Afghan army post on the Ayub Mama post in Helmand Province, Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, killing five soldiers and wounding four others. Two Afghan soldiers were also abducted.

Twenty-five men arrived at Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, pushing the number of terror suspects at the naval base to about 650. The arrivals came a day after The Pentagon reported a recent rise in suicide attempts among detainees at the base.

"Saturday, February 8, 2003"

German Defense Minister Peter Struck said that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had assured Struck that he would support the German proposal for NATO to take over.

A bomb exploded in a medical plaza a half-mile from a provincial governor's mansion in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. One person was hurt.

"Sunday, February 9, 2003"

On the orders of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, 138 people, including 72 members of the Taliban, were freed from Afghan jails in a goodwill gesture before the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Freed were prisoners who were critically ill, older than 60, serving minor offences or women who had finished half their sentence.

Afghanistan launched a campaign to recruit more women for training at the national police academy in Kabul. Priority was to be given to women who were denied education opportunities under Afghanistan's former Taleban rulers. To date, There were 29 women among the nearly 1,500 students undergoing training.

"Monday, February 10, 2003"

Afghanistan became the 89th nation to join the International Criminal Court. The ratification will take effect May 1, 2003. The court will prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It will intervene only when a country is unable or lacks the political will to carry out the trail.

In the Baghran mountains of Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers looking for weapons were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns; they sustained no casualties. Air support was requested, and coalition F-16s dropped five 500 pound bombs. Eyewitnesses said 13 people had been killed in the bombing. The US claims that the only civilian confirmed injured was an eight-year-old son of a suspected Taliban fighter. The boy was taken to the US military base at Kandahar (on February 14, 2003) for treatment of shrapnel wounds to the face and leg and was in stable condition.

Germany and the Netherlands took over joint command of the international peace-keeping force in Afghanistan. The command was handed over by Turkey?s Maj-Gen Hilmi Akin Zorlu during a ceremony at a secondary school in the Kabul. Dignitaries present included Afghan President Hamid Karzai, German Defense Minster Peter Struck, and the Dutch Defense Minister Benk Korthals. As Lt-Gen Norbert Van Heyst vowed to maintain law and order, a rocket landed a hundred meters from a German base in Kabul. Struck was taken to shelter during the visit to Kabul when two rockets landed in his vicinity. To date, The German contingent in the peacekeeping force numbered about 2,500. The Turkish contingent numbered about 1,400, but was likely to be reduced to 160 men.

In Khost Province, Afghanistan, a U.S. base came under rocket fire. Three rockets struck less than a kilometer from the base, but there was no damage.

A 22-year-old Afghan man was airlifted to the U.S. airbase in Bagram after suffering gunshot wounds. There were no details of how the man was shot, but he was said to be in a serious condition.

"Tuesday, February 11, 2003"

United States bombers fired laser-guided bombs at 25 armed Taliban suspects near the village of Lejay in the Baghran valley. Afghan authorities said that the raids had killed 17 civilians.

"Wednesday, February 12, 2003"

Canada said it would send up to 2,000 troops (consisting of a battle group and a brigade headquarters) to Afghanistan later in the year to bolster the United Nations peacekeeping mission. To date, Canada had two warships, two maritime patrol aircraft, three transport plans, and about 850 military personnel in the region searching for al Qaeda or Taliban operatives from Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged he international community not to abandon Afghanistan in the event of a United States-led war on Iraq. Such a move, he told the BBC, would lead to instability not just in Afghanistan, but within the region.

Key members of the U.S. Senate criticized the Bush administration for glossing over difficulties it still faces in Afghanistan. Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar said the administration appeared to be losing interest in Afghanistan.

The British announced that they had granted political asylum to three former Taliban fighters. None of the fighters had engaged in direct combat with British or U.S. troops.

"Thursday, February 13, 2003"

In Operation Eagle Fury, coalition warplanes dropped four 500 pound bombs and fired several hundred rounds of ammunition at the caves. Special forces patrols had collected abandoned ammunition casings and rocket-launchers. 15 fighters were captured by more than 100 US troops, while an estimated 30 rebels were believed to have suffered heavy injuries.

The United States Congress stepped in to find $295M in humanitarian and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan after the Bush administration failed to request any money in the latest budget. In its budget proposal for 2003, the White House did not ask for any money to aid humanitarian and reconstruction costs in Afghanistan. The chairman of the committee that distributes foreign aid, Jim Kolbe, said that when he asked administration officials why they had not requested any funds, he was given no satisfactory explanation. The $295M was not even close to the $825M promised in a bill signed by Bush in December 2002.

Another detainee attempted suicide at Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It was the 16th attempted suicide there since detentions began.

"Friday, February 14, 2003"

In Kabul, Afghanistan, four armed robbers stormed into the office of a French charity (Solidarity, working to help farmers), tied up two Afghan employees and stole cash. Police chief General Basir Falangi said authorities were investigating and vowed to find the robbers.

Suspected Taliban remnants fired two rockets into the southern Afghan town of Spin Boldak, but there were no casualties. A third rocket landed near a Pakistani border post.

"Saturday, February 15, 2003"

United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that the Bush administration continued to hold the belief that Afghanistan still belonged to the Afghans. He said US forces were in the Afghanistan to promote the goal of long-term stability and independence through the development of local institutions. In response to concerns over the United States shifting its focus onto Iraq, he said that whatever else happens in the world, the US would not abandon Afghanistan.

U.S. Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill met separately with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and village elders Helmand Province to discuss a coalition assault a week earlier that allegedly left several civilians dead. Karzai expressed concerns for the safety of civilians in operations carried out by US-led military coalition hunting for Islamic militants. Local officials and villagers in Helmand Province have said that at least 17 civilians, mostly women and children, had been killed in coalition bombing raids in the mountainous region that week. The U.S. military said that only an eight-year-old boy was wounded in the operation, and added that coalition forces had the right to self-defense.

"Sunday, February 16, 2003"

In Balochistan, Pakistan, strong winds and heavy rains caused a wall to collapse in a Latifabad refugee camp, killing a nine-year-old girl and injuring three of her family members. Some 50 Afghan families in a Mohammad Kheil camp also lost their homes and tents in the storms. Later in the week, UNHCR will distribute tents, food, coal and blankets to the affected refugees, along with 150 tents and 900 quilts to storm-hit refugees in Chaghi refugee village in Baluchistan’s Dalbandin area.

United Nations officials in Kabul said that rains brought signs of recovery in southern Afghanistan, where reservoirs are filling up in drought ravaged Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

Afghanistan and UNICEF announced a program to re-train thousands of teachers, particularly women forced out of work during the Taliban regime. About 70,000 teachers across 29 of the country's 32 provinces will begin to receive the on-the-job training in the coming weeks. Teachers will be instructed on new ways to teach Dari and Pashtu. They will also be trained to teach awareness of the dangers of landmines.

The United Nations said that authorities were looking for new housing for 100 impoverished families who recently moved into cliff-side caves that surround the famed Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in central Afghanistan.

Rebel attackers fired two rockets near the U.S. base in Shkhin, Afghanistan. No casualties or damage was reported.

The United Nations World Food Program began to distribute to the Afghan people 10,000 mt of fortified high-energy biscuits recently donated by the Indian government. Afghan President Hamid Karzai inaugurated the program by distributing biscuits to schoolchildren of the Amani High School in Kabul.

Three children drowned when they were swept away by flood waters near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

"Monday, February 17, 2003"

Afghan officials, workers, and citizens gathered at the Kabul museum for the opening of two newly renovated rooms. The purpose of the rooms was to begin repairing the collection of thousands of statues that were smashed in the Spring of 2001. The British Government, with the advice of the British Museum, paid for the renovation, and British soldiers partook in the work. Japan promised photographic equipment, Greece was to rebuild one wing, the Asian Foundation was to develop an inventory, and the U.S. pledged more money for a restoration department. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was to work on the windows and water supply.

Officials in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan ordered the closure of video shops. The order was in response to Western and Indian films that contained violence and nudity.

A statement sent to Pakistani newspapers urged Afghans to wage a holy war against U.S. forces and the U.S.-backed Afghan government. The statement was attributed to fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar.

An avalanche triggered by heavy rains killed two people and injured four others in Kunar Province Afghanistan. Avalanches and heavy snow blocked the Salang Tunnel in northern Afghanistan.

The international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan reopened after being shut down the day before because of heavy snow.

U.S. special forces troops came under fire near Asadabad, Afghanistan, were no one was hurt.

"Tuesday, February 18, 2003"

A fire swept through an observation post outside the United States headquarters outside the US military Bagram Air Base, forcing a quick evacuation. The cause of the fire was not known. No one was injured.

A lone gunman opened fire on United States Special Forces in Urgun, Afghanistan. No one was hurt

The United Nations confirmed reports of new Taliban training camps in eastern Afghanistan.

An 81-year old man from Ohio, Daniel Chick, armed with two pistols and dressed in military-style pants and sweater, was briefly detained in Haifa, Israel. He told police that he was on his way to Afghanistan in hopes of hunting down Osama bin Laden and claiming a $25 million bounty. He was trying to board a boat for Cyprus. To avoid facing charges after appearing before a judge, Chick agreed to give up his weapons and leave Israel. Allegedly, after leaving the United States, Chick made stops in Germany to visit his daughter and Italy, where he caught a flight to Israel. His attorney was Gideon Costa.

The International Organization for Migration office in Kunduz, Afghanistan was bombed. No one was injured.

"Wednesday, February 19, 2003"

Operation Viper began as United States CH-47 Chinook helicopters carrying US troops touched down in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. Their mission was to hunt down Taliban leaders believed hiding there.

The United States designated former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as a global terrorist after tying him to acts of terror committed by al-Qaida and the Taliban. U.S. financial institutions were ordered to freeze all financial assets belonging to Mr. Hekmatyat.

The United States agreed to provide US$60 million to Afghanistan to train a national police force and to wipe out drugs. The agreement for the projects was signed by Zalmay Rassoul and U.S. ambassador to Kabul Robert Finn.

Japan agreed to provide $35 million for a project to disarm militias in Afghanistan. To date, it was estimated that there were between 150,000 and 200,000 militiamen in Afghanistan. The aid was to be used to build facilities aimed at providing discharged soldiers with an education and employment training.

Near Gardez, Afghanistan, a U.S. soldier was injured when the military vehicle he was traveling in struck a landmine. The soldier's right foot was blown off by the explosion.

A lone gunman opened fire on U.S. Special Forces in Urgun, Afghanistan.

"Thursday, February 20, 2003"

President Hamid Karzai left Kabul, Afghanistan for a four-nation tour (Japan, Malaysia, the United States, and India). Karzai is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah and a high-level official delegation.

In Washington, DC, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson discussed a proposal that in the summer of 2003 NATO might assist Canada when it took over from the Netherlands and Germany in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan. "We’ll be examining that over the next few weeks," he said "to see whether there is a consensus on it, whether it makes sense, how best the job can be done."

Thirty United States soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 405th Parachute Infantry Regiment marched to Engran, Afghanistan. After setting up sniper positions, soldiers entered the village. They told village elder Haji Abdul Had that they had come as part of the Afghan government’s disarmament efforts. In an orchard behind a compound, soldiers found two AK-47 assault rifles beneath a wet burlap sack. The village elder said some families kept guns for their own security. The soldiers confiscated the arms. The soldiers searched four other villages, but found nothing else. Another platoon searching separate villages nearby seized 27 AK-47s.

Seeking more ethnic balance, Afghanistan's Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim announced that it replaced 15 ethnic Tajik generals and created a new, high-level post. The ousted generals were replaced by officers from the Pashtun, Uzbek and Hazara ethnic groups. The new position of a fourth deputy defense minister was given to Gen. Gul Zarak Zadran, a Pashtun. Abdul Rashid Dostum kept his post as one of the four deputy ministers. The ousted generals will be given other jobs within the ministry.

In Kabul, Afghanistan a new commission was formed to further evaluate the proposed laws and present its findings to the cabinet. The commission included Abdul Rahim Karimi, Enayatullah Nazari, Abdul Salam Azimi, Musa Ashari, and Musa Marufi.

In Kabul, Afghanistan a commission headed by Information and Culture Minister Sayyed Makhdum Rahin was formed to oversee the March 21 celebrations of Nawruz (Norouz), the Afghan New Year.

"Friday, February 21, 2003"

Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Tokyo, Japan to attend a conference of nations involved in pledging donations to Afghanistan. In a press conference, Karzai expressed confidence that his government would succeed in creating a unified Afghan fighting force, and in stabilizing areas beyond Kabul. But he also acknowledged that fighting has continued between rival warlords and that terrorist pockets continue to plague areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. He estimated that about 100,000 irregular troops still need to disarm. Japan is the second largest donor nation of Afghanistan after the United States.

Canada announced it would not able to run peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan alone later this year, and asked for NATO help. Canada will send a battlegroup and a brigade-level headquarters to Afghanistan in August, 2003 to take over command of the 4,000 member United Nations force. Canada's commitment could involve as many as 2,800 troops on each of two six-month rotations. The general in charge of international security policy in the Canadian Department of Defense resigned over the decision.

David Singh, the public information officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, warned staff to take precautions following anonymous threats warning of increased retaliation in the context of the possibility of war between the United States and Iraq.

In a press conference, United States Military spokesman Colonel Roger King said that in the last 24-hours Operation Viper brought about the detention of seven more suspected Taliban members, bringing the number during the mission up to about 25. King also said that there was no indication that a land mine this week that blew off the foot of a US soldier near Gardez, Afghanistan was planted recently or was targeted at US patrol.

German Defense Minister Peter Struck said Germany could withdraw its 2,500 troops from the 4,700 strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan if a war in Iraq began and escalated tensions in the region.

Pakistan donated arms and ammunition to the Afghan National Army, signifying an attempt to strengthen Pakistan’s influence in the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan. The weapons include 5000 submachine guns, 180 mortars, 75 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 10,000 mortar bombs. Pakistan will also help train Afghan army personnel.

The managing director of Sui Southern Gas Company reported that Pakistan needed to finalize one natural gas import pipeline project by the end of 2003 to meet soaring gas demands in the years ahead. The three projects under discussion included an Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline, and a Qatar-Pakistan pipeline.

A 35-year-old U.S. Army master sergeant suffered a head injury when wind from a twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopter swept up a wooden pallet that struck him at an airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was flown to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for emergency treatment. He survived.

U.S. forces apprehended seven suspected enemy fighters in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

"Saturday, February 22, 2003"

A one-day international donors' conference to help Afghan President Hamid Karzai tighten control over Afghanistan took place in Tokyo, Japan. There were about 45 donor nations and international organizations in attendance. The meeting, called by Japan, sought to raise money for efforts to disarm warlords and extend President Karzai's authority outside Kabul, Afghanistan.

In Islamabad, Pakistan, Afghan Minister for Petroleum and Mines Juma Mohammad Mohammadi and other administrators from Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to invite India to take part in a potential $2.5 billion gas pipeline project to connect the states.

Fighting between supporters of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and rival Gen. Atta Mohammed broke out near Maymana, the capital of Faryab Province. The two sides battled with machine guns, rocket launchers and artillery. Six civilians — including one man, two women and three children — were killed in the crossfire.

In Tokyo, Japan Afghan President Hamid Karzai secured $51 million in aid for Afghanistan from Japan ($35M), the United States ($10M), the United Kingdom and Canada ($2.2M).

A massive fire swept through a food and fuel warehouse in the central bazaar in Jalalabad. Six cars, plus large quantities of motor oil, flour, mayonnaise and other commodities were consumed by the fire.

The Tawainese Department of Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance announced that Afghanistan was included in a list of eleven countries being given ‘second-tier’ tariff rates in hopes of facilitating trade development.

"Sunday, February 23, 2003"

A International Committee of the Red Cross project started in Bamyan that provided women with vegetable seeds and training to tend family plots more productively.

An Afghan soldier working with U.S. special forces was killed and another wounded in a firefight at a compound just east of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. The clash also left one enemy fighter dead and another wounded.

In a new report entitled "Disaster Management Framework for Afghanistan," the United Nations urged Afghanistan to draw up plans to respond to natural disasters. Achieving that capacity would likely take at least 10 years, the report said.

About five alleged Taliban fighters fired Afghan security forces about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Kandahar in Zabol Province near the Pakistani border. The ensuing fire exchange left one of the attackers dead. Security force commander Haji Wazir Mohammed was seriously wounded.

A truck full of American military supplies including sandbags and a generator struck a landmine about 200 yards south of Bagram Air Base. No casualties were reported.A U.S. military convoy in the vicinity of Wazir, Afghanistan drew small arms fire from two armed men at approximately noon while attempting to secure a compound.

The United Nations called on donors to help fund the repatriation of an expected 1.2 million Afghan refugees in the coming year. The repatriation will begin March 2 and is expected to cost US$195 million, but, to date donors had only provided US$15.4 million.

Seven Taliban suspects with a stock of arms and land mines were arrested at a house in Kandahar.

"Monday, February 24, 2003"

Afghan Minister for Mines and Industries Juma Mohammad Mohammadi and Pakistan foreign ministry official Mohammad Farhad Ahmed were among eight people on board a Cessna plane that crashed into the Arabian Sea shortly after takeoff. The aircraft was headed for Balochistan, Pakistan near the Iranian border. Also on board the aircraft were three other Afghan officials, two crew members and Sun Changsheng, CEO of MCC Resource Development. They had been traveling to a copper and gold mining project being run by a Chinese firm in Balochistan. Weather officials say it was clear and sunny in Karachi at the time of the crash. The plane had crossed into a Pakistan military "no-fly zone" before it crashed into the sea.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the undersecretary-general in charge of United Nations peacekeeping, called for immediate measures to improve security in Afghanistan, where international aid agencies have been threatened by kidnappings and violence. Guehenno referred to a series of recent incidents, including mine and grenade attacks in Kandahar and Kunduz, and kidnapping threats in Kabul, Jalalabad and Kunar provinces where security had been reinforced. He said contingency plans had been made for a withdrawal of U.N. agencies from certain areas of Afghanistan. He also added that human rights continued to be undermined by poor overall security, including reports of extra-judiciary executions, extortions and forced displacements.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lobbering, a German spokesman, denied reports that Germany plans to pull its peacekeepers out of Afghanistan if there is war in Iraq.

The Asian Development Bank announced plans to provide about US$200 million in financial assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan this year. $150 million is earmarked for infrastructure rehabilitation; $50 million is earmarked for agriculture.

The road between Gardez and Khost was cut off by supporters of warlord Bacha Khan Zadran after local officials seized a dozen of his militiamen's vehicles. Paktia Gov. Raz Mohammad Dalili sent a delegation of elders to try to resolve the problem.

Norwegian troops were sent to Afghanistan for a three-month tour. The soldiers included a mix of commandos from the Norway's army and navy with training in winter and mountain warfare, and mine-clearing personnel. The exact number of troops wasn't revealed. Norway also announced that it would pull out its six F-16 fighters by the end of March, 2003.

An explosive device went off near the home of Education Minister Dawood Barak in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai arrived Malaysia for a Non-Aligned Movement summit.

Telephone Systems International purchased (EUR)4 million worth of GSM switching equipment from Siemens Mobile Communications. The equipment, including a Siemens switch, would support TSI's subsidiary, the Afghan Wireless Communication Company. The switch would be installed in Kabul.

Five Taliban suspects were arrested by Afghan forces at a hotel in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.

"Tuesday, February 25, 2003"

Habibullah Jan, a district administrator in Nimroz Province in Dilaram, 135 miles northwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan, was assassinated. Jan's body guard was wounded in the attack.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), about 3,400 tons of opium were produced in Afghanistan in 2002, making it the largest opium producer in the world, followed by Myanmar and Laos. The report also stated that more than three quarters of the heroin sold in Europe originated in Afghanistan. The UNODC called on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to take a tougher stance on the production of the illegal crops.

Two US security posts northwest of Bagram Air Base reported seeing and hearing approximately 14 mortar rounds being fired, as factional fighting broke out just before dawn.

The Afghan government found a giant cache of weapons including mortars, missiles and anti-tank land mines in an abandoned compound in the eastern Nangarhar region, near the border with Pakistan. Mortars, AK-41 anti-tank land mines, BM-12 Chinese-made missiles and munition rounds were found when troops searched the compound in Bander district, 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Jalalabad.

Five were Taliban suspects were arrested at a hotel in the town of Spin Boldak near the Pakistan border.

A British Secret Intelligence officer killed two Afghans with a Makarov pistol during a shootout at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. The shootout was sparked by the two Afghans pulling a gun in an attempt to abduct him. The British man, identified as Colin Berry, was also shot in the abdomen during the exchange of fire. Berry had been operating in Afghanistan for several months previously on covert operations in relation to Opium trafficking. He was also actively engaged in the tracing and recovery of Stinger (U.S), Blowpipe (U.K) and Soviet Surface to Air launchers and missiles .After the incident Berry was assisted by U.S Special Forces operatives that he had been working alongside. He was taken to the 'Italian War Victims' hospital for interim treatment whilst a helicopter was organised for a flight to neighbouring Pakistan. During the wait the U.S team was instructed to 'pull back'.As a concequence Berry was discovered and arrested by the Afghan Ministry of Interior - Secret Police. They immediately detained Berry at a secret location for questioning.

"Wednesday, February 26, 2003"

Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, DC. What was to be a private panel discussion instead turned into a hearing with television cameras and reporters present. The Bush administration later apologized to Karzai for the way he was treated by the senate. In the hearing, Karzai gave an optimistic view of the state of Afghanistan, to the dismay of some senators. Karzai disputed beliefs that 100,000 militiamen living in the provinces are beyond the influence of his government. He also turned down offers from senators that they lobby for an expansion of the international force, saying he would prefer to expand the new national Afghan army, which to date had about 3,000 trained troops.

Canada announced that it would be unable to make any substantial deployment of ground troops to Iraq because of its commitment to peacekeeping in Afghanistan.

Two Afghan children injured by mines near the air base that serves as U.S. military headquarters in Bagram, Afghanistan. Both children had limbs amputated.

Afghan forces found a giant cache of weapons including mortars, missiles and anti-tank land mines in an abandoned compound in the Nangarhar region.

"Thursday, February 27, 2003"

During a meeting at the White House, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked President George W. Bush "to do more for us in making the life of the Afghan people better, more stable, more peaceful." Bush said the United States had "a desire for human life to improve" in Afghanistan, but offered no public assurances that a war with Iraq would not hinder the Afghan recovery.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and renewed the department's commitment to promote health in Afghanistan, including training, staffing and working with the U.S. Department of Defense to rebuild a women's hospital in Kabul.

Rival Afghan commanders squabbling over scrap metal traded mortar fire near the U.S. headquarters near Bagram.

United Nations spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said that the U.N. suspended operations in Gosfandi district of Sar-e Pol Province due to factional skirmishes.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told an audience at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri that Afghanistan still needs the world's attention, which has been diverted to a possible U.S. war against Iraq.

"Friday, February 28, 2003"

Eight armed men stepped into the road and opened fire on a two-vehicle United Nations World Food Program convoy at midday as they traveled from Wazahan village to Hiraqat, but no injuries were reported.

A lone gunman opened fire with an AK-47 on U.S. soldiers manning a guard post north of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, but no casualties were reported.

Using a pistol and then a sub-machinegun, an Afghan man killed two policemen guarding the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. Five other officers and a passerby were injured.

United States troops discovered a "bomb-making facility" near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The troops found the materials after searching five compounds in Shinwar district. Also recovered were three 82 mm mortars, one grenade launcher, five machine-guns, 1,000 mortar rounds, 300 rockets, mines and thousands of ammunition cases.

Two rockets found inside a bag exploded near government offices in Kandahar, Afghanistan. A guard found four rockets hidden in a bag at around 7 a.m. He informed the intelligence department nearby, but two of the rockets exploded before the bomb disposal squad could reach the site, he said. The other two were defused. There were no casualties.

An explosive device went off near the home of Education Minister Dawood Barak in Kandahar.

Antonella Deledda, Central Asia representative for the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, said from Tashkent, Uzbekistan that the steady flow of opium and heroin from Afghanistan was causing rising drug addiction and AIDS infections across the region, especially in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Ruud Lubbers, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, traveled by road from Kabul to Mazari Sharif and met with warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum, Atta Mohammed and Ustad Sayeedi. Afghan Refugees Minister Inayatullah Nazeri also attended the talks. Lubbers complained about insecurity and ethnic tensions and urge the warlords to unite to help Afghans return to their homes.

Afghanistan's Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim headed to Washington, DC for a six-day trip intended for talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Also traveling with Fahim was Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Hatiqullah Baryalai. Speaking to the press before his flight left Kabul, Fahim urged the United States to provide more cooperation and financial assistance to rebuild his Afghanistan's national army.

"See also"

Timeline of the War in Afghanistan:
<< January 2003 | February 2003 | March 2003 >>

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