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Government, Defense

Hamid Karzai, military age, Kofi Annan, border guard, combat troops

In 1978 the Afghan army numbered 110,000 men, but desertions reduced it to 50,000 by 1986. The USSR, which had already supplied the Afghan government with military equipment and advisers, sent in combat troops in late 1979 but withdrew them over a nine-month period in 1988 and 1989. By then the Afghan armed forces had been rebuilt to about 200,000 men in the army, security police, and militia. During the civil war, however, elements of the former army, national guard, border guard, national police (sarandoi), and ethnic militias were broken up among the various political factions. In 1995 available manpower (men aged 15 to 49) was estimated at about 5.6 million; those fit for military service was about 3 million; and men reaching military age (22) annually numbered about 200,000. At the present time, however, the military no longer exists on a national scale. In early 2002 Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, and Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan, discussed the urgent need to form a well-trained and disciplined Afghan police force and army. The United States subsequently set up a task force for training Afghan troops that eventually would form a new national army in Afghanistan.

Article key phrases:

Hamid Karzai, military age, Kofi Annan, border guard, combat troops, Afghan government, national police, security police, national guard, civil war, military equipment, secretary general, USSR, military service, advisers, task force, present time, United Nations, elements, urgent need, month period, United States, Afghan army


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