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Afghanistan: More Illegal Armed Groups Disbanded

Afghanistan: more illegal armed groups disbanded with UN help

24 July 2008 - A campaign to disband illegal armed groups - that has already seen more than 40,000 weapons handed in - is to be extended to 12 more districts in Afghanistan, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The drive is already taking place in 70 districts around the country and is aimed at eradicating the influence of illegal armed groups to pave the way for the consolidation of peace, the rule of law and prosperity in Afghanistan.

As part of the process, as many as 342 illegal armed groups have been disbanded and 44 development projects are either under way or in the planning stages.

UNDP said today that ex-commanders and government officials could demonstrate their support for peacebuilding efforts in the country by voluntarily surrendering their weapons and by disbanding or severing links with armed groups.

Launched in 2005, the drive has seen 40,571 weapons, as well as 33,079 pieces of boxed and unboxed ammunition, handed over and verified by collection teams in Afghanistan.

In another development in Afghanistan, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today that 29 small enterprises will be able to buy 6,000 tons of wheat seed through a joint UN-Government project aimed at tackling the combined effects of drought and soaring grain prices.

"Without adequate cash made available on time during the current harvest season, the enterprises would not be able to buy enough raw seed for processing and cleaning, as much of this valuable seed would be diverted by the growers to the grain market. This would obviously result in an acute shortage of certified seed for the main planting season in October - November 2008, with a direct negative impact on crop production in the coming year and a likely contribution to another cycle of high food prices," the FAO said today.

The project is being funded by the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom which are each contributing $3 million.

ENDS

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