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The call of defenders; Ex-army officials seek residential plots

AT-KABUL: Around 100 former army officers who were part of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process have demanded of the National Unity Government (NUG) on Monday to restore their rights and give them residential plots.

Protesting in favor of their demands, the ex-army officials gathered at the Pashtunistan square in the capital city, Kabul. They said the government should implement the decision made by the Karzai-administration.

The former president Hamid Karzai promised to provide 300 square meters plot to each ex-army officer, part of the DDR process, against their two-year salary, Sayed Essa Sadat said.

Essa Sadat, a former military officer, said that the decision was taken on November 30 in 2005 but has not been implemented till date.

Esa Khan, another ex-officer, said the government has not process their salary of two years. Salary of each officer between 2002 and 2003 is Afs120,000.

“The officers are asking for their rights for the last eight years but had failed to get a positive response, despite providing more than 900 applications,” said Muhammad Aasef, another officer who vowed to continue the protest until their demands were met.

Najebullah Mujahid, another protestor, said that they had launched the protest demonstrations in Herat and Kabul simultaneously and would expand it to other parts of the country if their rights were not restored.

“Around 40,000 ex-army officers from different provinces will go on strike if their demands were not met according to the decision of the previous government,” he warned.

According to a press statement sent to media in May 2014, the Council of Ministers has directed all municipalities to provide plots to the former army officials against their two-year salary.

The cabinet also reapproved Afs144 million as the cost of plots to the municipalities.

The DDR program was aimed to provide legitimate members of Afghan Military Forces (AMF) with the opportunity to reintegrate into civilian life; promote the restoration of security nationwide and create an enabling environment for further security sector reform – police, judiciary and the Afghan National Army (ANA); assist the government to honorably decommission the AMF so that the new Afghan National Army becomes the sole military force for the defense of Afghanistan; and target the registered soldiers and officers who are members of AMF.

The reintegration packages included infrastructure wage labor, vocational training tied to job placements, community-based de-mining corps, agricultural packages for those returning to their farms (seeds, fertilizer, tools and training), small businesses such as shops, construction contracting or crop processing.

By date 23 May 2006, total 63,380 AMF members went through the Disarmament process.

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