2003 in Afghanistan - October


October 1: President Karzai spoke as a guest at a Labour party conference in Bournemouth, England.

  • In Nish, Afghanistan ten Afghan National Army soldiers and two children were killed in their vehicles when they were ambushed by 16 rebels in two vehicles. In the same area, four rebels were killed by helicopter gunships.

October 2: In Kabul, two Canadian peacekeepers (Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger) were killed and three were injured by a landmine.

  • Afghan security forces arrested five suspected al-Qaeda operatives, four Afghan and one Pakistani. It was alleged that the suspects came from Pakistan where they were trained at an al-Qaeda camp.

October 3: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visited Kabuland Kandahar to discuss the U.S.-led War on Terrorism.

  • In the Urgan district of Paktika province, rebels ambushed two fuel trucks supplying the U.S.-led coalition and beheaded two people and kidnapped the remaining four.
  • In Dara-e-Noor, north Kandahar, Afghanistan, a pickup truck carrying Afghan Army soldiers came under fire from over a dozen rebel fighters. Ten government soldiers and two children were killed.

October 4: Near the Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, at least six people were killed and seven others injured in a massive explosion caused by people dismantling a cluster bomb.

  • In Jawzjan province, Afghanistan, fighting broke out between two factions and spread to the south and west of Mazari Sharif.
  • In Puli Khumri, Baghlan province, Afghanistan, and improvised explosive device was discovered 25 metres from the UNHCR office. The device was disabled by the Halo Trust.

October 5: President Karzai suggested publicly that he would seek the presidency in the June 2004 elections.

October 7: ISAF peacekeepers and Afghan police arrested Abu Bakr on suspicions of planning terrorist attacks and killing two Canadian soldiers on October 2.

  • The U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, visited Kabul.
  • In Kabul, Abu Bakr was arrested for the October 2 bombing that killed two Canadian soldiers.

October 8: Afghan Central Bank governor Anwar Ul-Haq Ahadi decreed that all prices in the Afghan marketplace would be specified in Afghanis.

  • Clashes west of Mazari Sharif, between Atta Mohammad's Tajik Jamiat faction and Abdul Rashid Dostum's Uzbek Junbish faction killed and wounded more than fifty people.
  • In Kabul, the Afghan Defense Ministry, the UN and Japan signed an agreement to demobilize 100,000 factional fighters.
  • The World Bank approved a $US22 million loan to extend Afghanistan's phone and postal networks.
  • The National Bank of Pakistan became the first foreign bank to open in Afghanistan since 1979. Standard Chartered Bank and First Micro Finance Bank had licenses to open, but had not yet done so.

October 9: Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmed Jalali flew from Kabul to Mazari Sharif to oversee a truce signed between Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad.

October 10: About 40 prisoners including Taliban members escaped through a tunnel at the jail in Kandahar. The escape led to the suspension of the prison superintendent a few days later. It was alleged that the prisoners paid bribes of $80,000. It was not immediately known to where the earth was removed to create the 30 metre tunnel.

October 11: The governing council of Nangarhar province banned a Pashto language newspaper (named Khabrona) published in Peshawar, Pakistan because of its pro-Taliban stance.

  • President Karzai approved a $200 million Japanese-led project aimed at disarming and demobilizing militiamen in Kunduz province. The program hoped to started on October 24.
  • President Karzai approved a law barring judges, prosecutors, armed forces leaders, officers, non-commissioned officers, other military personnel, police officers, and personnel of national security from being members of a political party during their term of office.

October 12: In Zabul province, eight policemen were killed when around 100 insurgents attacked government offices. District offices were torched and four vehicles destroyed.

  • In Chaar Chino district, Uruzgan province, rebels killed four Afghan Army soldiers when they ambushed their pick-up truck.

October 13: The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to expand the ISAF mission beyond Kabul.

  • About 300 Kabul policemen took up positions in Mazari Sharif to help maintain a truce between Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad.
  • In Kabul, several hundred former Afghan military personnel officers held their third demonstration in a month to protest their dismissal. They demanded reinstatement and lost pay.
  • In the Chaar Cheno district, Uruzgan province, hundreds of Afghan troops backed by U.S. soldiers and helicopters attacked a suspected Taliban hideout, killing at least four rebels and capturing eight others. One Afghan Army soldier was killed and five others were wounded.
  • In Zabul province, gunmen ambushed a vehicle carrying two U.S. citizens, but no injuries were reported.
  • At a wedding in Shab Koh, Farah province, three were killed and four injured because of an armed clash between two government security officers.

October 14: In the Bakwa district of Farah province, unknown gunmen wearing uniforms of government security forces opened fire on travelers along a highway, killing seven people and injuring two others. The gunmen robbed the travelers.

October 15: Afghan forces fought suspected Taliban forces in central Afghanistan.

October 16: U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans visited some sites in Kabul. While visiting a girls' school he relayed a message to the schoolgirls from President George W. Bush that "We care about you and we love you." Evans then put his arm around a female teacher, a faux pas in the conservative Muslim state.

  • In the Char Cheno district, Uruzgan province, U.S.-led coalition troops completed a two-day battle with suspected Taliban rebels. Two Afghan National Army soldiers and six rebels died in the fighting.

October 18: On a road linking Khost province with Gardez province, a group of 50 Taliban whipped drivers without beards, confiscated music cassettes from vehicles and passengers, and distributed pamphlets warning of harsh penalties.

October 19: While visiting Kabul, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said that Canadian troops would not be sent beyond Kabul, despite United Nations Security Council plans to expand peacekeeping operations.

  • Near the U.S. base at Deh Rawud, Uruzgan province, U.S. special forces soldiers and Afghan National Army soldiers captured Mullah Janan, a Taliban commander thought responsible for rocket attacks on a base in southern Afghanistan.

October 20: Outside a UN office in Kabul, hundreds of dismissed Afghan military personnel and army officers protested, demanding back jobs and income lost during reforms of the Defense Ministry. The reforms were aimed at making the ministry more ethnically balanced, to encourage opposition factions to lay down their arms to bring peace to the nation. To date, 20,000 of 50,000 scheduled had already been dismissed since the beginning of 2003.

  • In Helmand province, two Afghan military intelligence agents were killed and three others wounded when their pickup truck hit a [landmine.
  • In Kunar province, a bomb blew up a pickup truck killing four people.
  • Over forty Afghan children, mostly from Baghlan province, who were illegally trafficked to Saudi Arabia over recent years, were repatriated to Kabul. They would reside in an orphanage run by the Afghan Social Affairs Ministry until their families could be located.
  • In Kabul, the MMRD and the Embassy of Japan hosted an Ogata Initiative workshop to define goals for the next phase of the Initiative.

October 21: The Afghan government confirmed that former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil had been released from U.S. custody at Bagram Air Base. Taliban leadership promptly denounced Mutawakil.

  • Pakistani border security force arrested Afghan Commander Nizamuddin and two soldiers who had crossed into Pakistan illegally.
  • Pakistan began constructing a 40 kilometer wall along the Afghan border without seeking permission from the government of President Karzai.

October 22: In the first three days of a demilitarization program in Kunduz, more than 600 Afghan militiamen surrendered their weapons to the government.

  • The Afghan Supreme Court called on the United Kingdom to extradite Zardad Faryadi. Deputy Chief Justice Fazl Ahmad Manawi stated that Faryadi should be tried in Afghanistan.

October 23: Rebels fired rockets at a pickup truck ferrying passengers to Haibak in Samangan province, killing 10 people, including two children.

  • In Kabul, British minister for international trade Mike O'Brien and Afghan Commerce MinisterSayed Mustafa Kazimi signed a trade agreement to strengthen bilateral business ties and to improve the international market for Afghan products.

October 24: Germany's Bundestag voted to send German troops to Kunduz, Afghanistan. The deployment marked the first time that ISAF soldiers operated outside of Kabul.

  • Taliban members distributed pamphlets in Laghman province, threatened death to Afghan women working for NGOs and to Afghan drivers carrying foreigners and their belongings on highways.
  • About 1,000 Afghan Army soldiers, backed by more than a hundred U.S.-led coalition troops, tanks, and jets, swept through parts of Zabul province hunting for rebel forces. Sixteen suspected Taliban fighters were captured.
  • The Afghan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Program project was launched in Kunduz. In the program, demobilized combatants would receive a one-time incentive food package of wheat, pulses, vegetable oil and iodised salt.

October 25: In Khost province, two classrooms of a co-ed school were completely destroyed by an explosion.

  • In the Gomal District of Paktika province, U.S. led coalition troops killed 18 rebel fighters in a six-hour firefight, calling in A-10 Thunderbolt airplanes and Apache helicopters to help combat the attackers. Two CIA agents, William Carlson and Christopher Mueller, were killed in a related ambush.
  • Afghan, Pakistani and U.S. diplomats and military officials participated in a joint visit to the Afghan-Pakistani border to ascertain where the disputed boundary should lie.

October 26: During a visit to Mazari Sharif, Balkh province, Afghan interior minister Ali Ahmad Jalali appointed a new provincial governor, deputy governor, mayor and police chief. The shake-up was an attempt to quell growing ethnic tensions in the area. In one of the more controversial appointments, the former police chief of Kandahar (Mohammed Akram, an ethnic Pashtun) was named the chief in Mazari Sharif.

  • Afghan citizens, including Afghan Women's Affairs Minister Habiba Surabi expressed outrage at Miss Earth contestant Vida Samadzai for donning a red bikini on stage in Manila.

October 27: In attempts to prevent the movement of foreign terrorists into Pakistan, the Pakistan army established over 100 check-posts along the border with Afghanistan, and established a system of intelligence, patrols, and inspections in the tribal areas.

  • Rebels ambushed a U.S. convoy near Orgun-E in Paktika province, injuring three soldiers.
  • In an article in Time Magazine, the U.S. base in Shkin in the Paktika province was described as: "a Wild West cavalry fort, ringed with coils of razor wire. A U.S. flag ripples above the 3-ft.-thick mud walls, and in the watchtower a guard scans the expanse of forested ridges, rising to 9,000 ft., that mark the border. When there's trouble, it usually comes from that direction."

October 28: In Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced that the number of Afghan refugees returning to Afghanistan from Iran has just passed 600,000 and the number returning from Pakistan had just topped 1.9 million.

  • The Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development allocated US$30 million for infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.

October 29: The Afghan Supreme Court condemned Vida Samadzai competing as Miss Afghanistan at the Miss Earth beauty pageant, saying such a display of the female body goes against Islamic law and Afghan culture.

  • In Kabul, a Canadian combat engineer was uninjured when his vehicle struck a landmine. He was clearing the same route where two Canadian soldiers were killed October 2.
  • The French armed forces chief of staff, General Henri Bentégeat, arrived in Kabul for an official two-day visit that would including meeting with the French troops in ISAF and meeting Afghan officials such as President Karzai, former King Zahir Shah, Defence Minister Mohammad Qasim Fahim and the commander of the Afghan National Army, General Bismillah Khan.
  • In Orgun of Paktika province, four U.S. special forces soldiers suffered minor wounds after their patrol was ambushed.
  • Hasan Onal, a Turkish engineer, and his Afghan driver were kidnapped at gunpoint while traveling in the Shah Joy District of Zabul province. The driver was freed a day later with the kidnappers' demands, which were the release of 18 Taliban prisoners by November 2. Onal was eventually released safely on November 29.

October 30: In a small hamlet near the village of Aranj in the Waygal district of Nuristan province, six people of the same family were killed when a house was bombarded by U.S. warplanes. The house belonged to a former provincial governor, Ghulam Rabbani, who was in Kabul at the time. The raid was aimed at Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Mullah Faqirullah, both of whom had left the area just hours before. The victims (three children, an adolescent, a young man and an old woman) were all relatives of Mullah Rabbani.

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark arrived in Kabul for a two-day visit that would include talks with President Hamid Karzai and encounters with New Zealand forces serving there. At the time New Zealand had around 100 troops serving as part of a humanitarian reconstruction team in Bamyan Province, near the site of the ancient Buddha statues which had been destroyed by the Taliban.
  • Thirty-five miles west of the Deh Rawood district in Uruzgan province, rebels killed a U.S. special forces soldier and wounded an Afghan soldier.
  • In Zabul province, rebels kidnapped four Afghan government officials, including the brother of MullahMohammad Zafar, commissioner of the Khak Afghan district.
  • The United States House of Representatives voted 298-121 in favor of $87.5 billion War on Terrorism bill. $1.2 billion of that was earmarked for Afghan reconstruction. $65 million of that was set aside for Afghan women's programs.
  • Because of attacks on humanitarian workers, the United Nations temporarily suspended road missions to four provinces in southern Afghanistan, including Helmand province and Oruzgan province.
  • Afghanistan launched its first FM radio channel.

October 31: In Sar-i-Pul province, fighting broke out between forces of General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ustad Atta Mohammed, killing at least ten.

  • In Helmand province, police officers opened fire on military vehicles with tinted windows that had refused to stop for a routine check. In the ensuing exchange of fire, three Afghan Army soldiers and two policemen were killed.
  • Two Arabs and two Chechens in Khost province, attempting to kidnap U.S. journalists, were thwarted when the car they stopped on the road between Gardez and Khost contained only a local driver. The driver was beaten, but not killed, because he spoke Arabic.
  • Two of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's commanders, Abu Bakr and Qalam, were reported to have been arrested recently in Kabul by ISAF.
  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Burhanuddin Rabbani held talks in Badakhshan.

Read more about this topic:  2003 In Afghanistan

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