The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clashes mar Karzai decree

Bonn, Dec. 2 (Reuters): Afghan President Hamid Karzai hailed the progress his country has made since forming a new government a year ago, but new fighting today underlined the impoverished country’s fragile situation.

Amid concern about lack of central government control, Karzai told the summit he had signed a decree to create a national army to replace the country’s many private militias.

Karzai was in the former German capital Bonn with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and international officials to mark a December 2001 agreement on a post-Taliban government.

“A year ago, an agreement was signed here that provided a road map to the creation of a government that will have legitimacy both at home and abroad,” Karzai said. “We are proud to have adhered to the major milestones of the Bonn Agreement.”

Schroeder said the freedoms that began with the fall of the Taliban regime “must be achieved and fought for every day.”

Inside Afghanistan, rival commanders clashed close to a key Afghan air base where US forces are stationed, a day after a US B-52 bombed one of the sides.

As rival forces fought in the west, three people were killed and five wounded in a clash between police and fighters of a military commander in the Kandahar.

US officials say that most of the country was safe and peaceful, although fighting against remnants of the Taliban and al Qaida continues in some parts.

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