Encyclopedia > Afghanistan timeline March 1-15, 2003

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Afghanistan timeline March 1-15, 2003

Afghanistan timeline

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March 15, 2003

  • A warehouse filled with gunpowder exploded in the village of Tokhichi[?], near the Bagram Air Base, killing an Afghan and injuring three others. The burning warehouse created a fiery orange ball that could be seen for several miles.
  • German's suggestions for NATO to take over International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the Afghan capital of Kabul received a setback when Belgium joined France in opposing such a move.
  • In Afghanistan, some 500 Italian troops took over the Salerno military base from U.S. troops.
  • The first two brigades of the Afghan national army completed 10 weeks of training. To date, around 2,000 soldiers are said to have been trained so far, while thousands of other Afghans carry arms, and local warlords remain powerful figures. To date, attempts to form a national force were hampered by a lack of non-partisan volunteers, and divisions over how much representation different ethnic factions would have.
  • U.S. soldiers discovered two ammunition caches in mud buildings in Bamiyan province[?] of Afghanistan, including 37 artillery rounds, more than 200 recoilless rifle rounds, a rocket, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

March 14, 2003

  • Afghan authorities raided a house in Kandahar, arresting 10 members of the former Taliban regime suspected of plotting terror attacks. Police also seized arms, explosives, land mines and documents.
  • In Kabul, Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai[?] presented donor countries with the government's US$550 million budget for this year and said the international community needed to pay for more than half of it. Afghanistan itself planned to to come up with US$200 million, double the amount it raised for for the previous budget. Afghainstan received pledges of millions of dollars, but US$350 million more were needed to meet their new budget.
  • In Lashkar Gah[?], Afghanistan, a remote-controlled bomb hidden beneath a cart outside a mosque exploded, wounding three people.
  • Six Afghan agencies signed an agreement with the U.N. Mine Action Program for Afghanistan to share US$7.5 million of U.S. aid to clear land mines along roads and at school construction sites. The project was to be completed by the end of 2003.

March 13, 2003

  • Speaking at an international donor meeting in Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told delegates that $4.5 billion worth of pledges offered at an Afghan reconstruction summit in Tokyo in January 2001 fell far short of Afghanistan's needs. He said Afghanistan would need up to $20 billion to successfully combat the threats of terrorism and the burgeoning opium poppy trade.
  • A rocket was fired at a coalition base in Asadabad[?], Afghanistan. No injuries or damage to coalition equipment was reported.
  • No one was injured when a land mine exploded on a stretch of road in eastern Afghanistan just minutes after a convoy from the British Broadcasting Corporation passed by. They were returning from Tora Bora.
  • Reports surfaced that increasing numbers of recruits in the Afghan national army were deserting. Low salaries were said to be a primary factor.
  • After raiding a house in Kandahar, Afghan authorities arrested 10 Taliban suspects and seized arms, explosives, land mines and documents.
  • In the Jaikhojuk[?] neighborhood of Kandahar, Afghanistan, a bomb exploded on a road that was being repaired. There were no reports of casualties or serious damages.

March 12, 2003

  • London-based Amnesty International issued a report alleging that Afghan police were ill-equipped, not held accountable and guilty of widespread abuses. Amnesty said it found evidence of torture and ill-treatment by the police. To date, there were some 50,000 police in Afghanistan. The German Government was taking the lead in assisting and training the force.
  • Two people were arrested after they were caught trying to plant explosives outside the regional headquarters of the U.S. relief organization Mercy Corps in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
  • In Afghanistan, a small U.S.-led coalition convoy crossing a mountain pass from Gardez to Khost[?] came under small-arms and machinegun fire. Air support was called in and five attackers were killed and two captured in the three-hour clash. There were no U.S. or coalition casualties.
  • The UNHCR began repatriating thousands of Afghan refugees from around 200 camps in Pakistan. The goal was to repatriate 600,000 refugees by year's end.
  • Italian Alpine commandos operating in south-east Afghanistan near Balochistan border regions stepped up their hunt for Osama bin Laden, Mulla Muhammed Omar[?] and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The commandos had bene in action along the border with Pakistan since December 2002.
  • In Kabul, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah and Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim[?].
  • The World Bank announced a $108 million, 40-year no-interest loan to Afghanistan. The money was to be spent on repairing disintegrating roads, collapsed bridges, damaged tunnels and the runway at Kabul airport.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development announced a new $60 million program to rehabilitate Afghanistan's school system. The money was slated for the printing of 10 million textbooks in Dari and Pashtu languages. The money was also earmarked for the construction or reconstruction of about 1,200 primary schools in every province.
  • Agha Murtaza Pooya[?], deputy head of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek[?], told the Pashto language service of Iranian Radio[?] that Osama bin Laden was in custody but he did not know where he was being held. The governments of Pakistan and the United States denied the reports.

March 11, 2003

  • U.S. President George W. Bush apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the way Karzai was treated by a U.S. Senate committee on February 26. Some senators said they feared Karzai, by highlighting facts like millions of children returning to school and the government's smooth introduction of a new currency, had put too positive a spin on Afghanistan's problems. One senator said stressing the positive could hurt Karzai's credibility.
  • A delegation of Afghan legal officials and experts gathered in Washington, DC, completed a four-day conference managed by International Resources Group and hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace[?]. The participants worked by consensus to lay out the future of the justice system in Afghanistan.
  • Three judges on a U.S. appeals court unanimously dismissed a challenge by Afghan war detainees at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The challenge regarded their being held without access to their family or a lawyer. The judges agreed that the detainees, which include including two Britons, twelve Kuwaitis and two Australians, were not protected by the U.S. Constitution.
  • In Lashkar Gah[?], Afghanistan, two rockets fired by unknown attackers hit two houses near the governor's house. No one was injured.
  • One Afghan militia force solider was killed in a blast near Barikot[?] on the border with Pakistan. A coalition special forces member and an Afghan interpreter were wounded.
  • An Afghan man who stepped on a land mine was taken to Bagram Air Base for medical treatment. His right leg was amputated.

March 10, 2003

March 9, 2003

  • Pakistani[?] security forces carried out raids in Jalozai[?] and Shamshatoo[?], Afghan refugee camps near Peshawar. No one was detained.
  • Masood, an Iraqi national and two Afghan men were picked up in Hayatabad[?], Pakistan. They were questioned for involvement in the slaying of a Pakistani intelligence officer (was shot and killed on March 4 in Wana[?]) and suspected al-Qaida links. Computer discs and other unspecified documents were recovered from their possession.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that he hoped war in Iraq could be avoided. But he also said the Iraqi people deserved to choose their own government.
  • The 22nd suicide attempt by a detainee took place at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To date, about 650 detainees from 43 countries were being held there on suspicion of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. To date, the men had not been charged and were not allowed lawyers. To date, five detainees had been released, including three Pakistanis and two Afghans.
  • One U.S. airman suffered multiple fractures to his right foot after he was struck by a fork lift truck during aircraft-loading operations at Bagram air base[?], Afghanistan.
  • A 45-year-old Afghan man to the hospital at Bagram air base[?] after he was shot in the leg in a hunting accident near Orgun[?].

March 8, 2003

March 7, 2003

March 6, 2003

  • A preferential trade agreement was signed in a ceremony in New Delhi, India attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The trade pact will enable free movement of goods specified by the two countries at lower tariffs. The volume of trade between the two countries in 2001-02 totaled $41.89 million. Vajpayee also announced a $70 million grant to rebuild a major road in Afghanistan. Included in the pledge was the third of three 232-seat Airbus 300-B4s to help rebuild Ariana Afghan Airlines.
  • "The Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan," a United Nations report revealed that intimidation and violence against women continue without resistance Afghanistan. To date, Afghan women worked, studied and even held some government posts, but in more rural areas they continued to be forced into marriages and were victims of domestic violence, kidnapping and harassment.
  • United States military coroners ruled as homicides the deaths in December 2002 of two prisoners at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. The two prisoners died at the makeshift prison in the U.S. compound at the Afghan base north of Kabul. The autopsies found that the men had been beaten, and one had a blood clot in his lung.
  • At least nine suspected al Qaeda members were killed in an operation by U.S. and Afghan troops in the far west of Afghanistan in the Ribat area, where the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran meet.

March 5, 2003

March 4, 2003

  • United States special forces found 96 rocket-propelled grenades, five rifles and ammunition after searching a compound in the southeastern border town of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan[?].
  • Two mortars were fired near Bagram Air Base, but the explosions occurred about a mile (1.5 kilometers) away and there were no injuries.
  • A United States military vehicle struck a four-year-old Afghan boy just west of the southern city of Kandahar, Afghanistan. The boy sustained a severe head injury and was medically evacuated to Bagram Air Base for evaluation. By March 7 he was in stable condition.
  • In Copenhagen, Denmark[?], two Danish officers faced preliminary charges of negligence in connection with an April 6, 2002 explosion that killed five bomb squad members in Afghanistan.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Qatar to participate in the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.
  • A U.S. soldier was brought to a hospital facility at Bagram, Afghanistan[?] after being injured when his vehicle rolled over in Bamiyan province[?]. The soldier was in stable condition.
  • Gunmen killed Sher Nawaz Khan[?], a Pakistani intelligence official, in a border area near Afghanistan. Kahn was riding a motorbike to work in the border town of Wana[?], 180 miles south of Peshawar. The gunmen followed Khan in a car then shot him repeatedly after knocking him off the motorbike.
  • Qari Abdul Wali[?], a military commander in the hard-line Islamic Taliban regime said from a hideout near the southern Afghan town of Spin Boldakthe[?] that arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would not weaken the al Qaeda network.
  • The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) pledged a $50 million line of credit in support of U.S. private sector investment in Afghanistan. This was in addition to the $50 million OPIC line of credit that the Bush administration announced January 2002. One project will be the construction of a five-star international hotel in Kabul to be managed by Hyatt International[?], to which OPIC anticipates providing $35 million in financing and political risk insurance[?]. OPIC will also provide political risk insurance to enable a U.S. manufacturer to donate a compressed earth block machine for the construction of three schools, at least one of which will be for girls.

March 3, 2003

  • At 6 A.M., a rocket hit a house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, injuring a man and his wife and causing panic in the area. The wife, Bibi Koh, was in serious condition.
  • U.S. military aircraft scattered leaflets over southern Afghanistan, according to residents in Spin Boldak[?], Afghanistan. The pamplets offered cash rewards for help in arresting Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri[?]. The leaflets did not say how to collect the money or who to contact to inform on bin Laden.
  • The U.S. military pushed into a new valley in southern Afghanistan in search of fugitive leaders of the ousted Taliban regime. 12 people had been detained over the past three days and more than 60 rifles from two weapons caches were discovered in Baghni valley. One of the weapon caches was found down a well, wrapped in plastic and tied to a rope.

March 2, 2003

  • The San Francisco Chronicle[?] reported that Afghan poverty-stricken families earning money by selling their daughters was on the rise.
  • Germany pulled out its elite KSK anti-terror forces from Afghanistan. The German defense ministry refused to comment on the report.
  • Afghan border guards arrested a Pakistani man, Sayed Wali[?], in eastern Afghanistan on charges of illegally entering Afghanistan. They accusing him of spying for his Pakistan. He was arrested in the Shinwar district near Torkham.

March 1, 2003

  • Two Afghan government soldiers were wounded in a blast in Kandahar.
  • Thousands of people gathered outside a police station in the Dasht-e Barchi district of Kabul, Afghanistan after claims that a policeman tried to kidnap a woman there. There were also claims that policemen had raped two women. Surrounding the police station, protesters wanted those responsible for the alleged attack to be punished. Protesters also nominated their own candidates to police the district. Some merchants closed shop in solidarity. Police officers were injured by protesters, who attacked them with stones in western Kabul's Dashta-e-Barchi district. Two civilians were also reported wounded. Shots were fired by police.
  • The UNHCR announced that 395,752 Afghans had voluntarily returned home from Iran since a UNHCR joint program with Tehran to the effect began on April 9, 2002. (see details of the UNHCR Afghan repatriation programs)
  • U.S. troops raided the compound of Haji Ghalib[?], the chief of security for Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province[?] in Afghanistan, arresting him and two others and seizing heavy weapons. Ghalib's son, Mohammed Shafiq[?], said the U.S. forces also seized missiles, mortars and a large quantity of anti-tank mines during the arrest. The two people detained along with Ghalib were not identified.
  • Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was arrested in a joint raid by CIA agents and Pakistani police in Rawalpindi, Pakistan[?].
  • Armed men fired on a U.S. observation post at the Salerno base[?] in Khost, Afghanistan[?]. U.S. forces returned fire. There were no casualties.
  • Three Afghan soldiers were wounded when their pickup truck ran over a landmine during a routine patrol at Panjwai district, 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Kandahar.

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