TEACHER HANDS OVER LARGE WEAPONS CACHE
FARAH - Afghanistan
A ceremony of appreciation for a former Commander who voluntarily handed over his cache of weapons was recently held in Farah. Ustad Mohammad Alam, who now works as a teacher, gathered his weapons during the soviet occupation of Afghanistan and at the height of his efforts he had enough to arm 300 men.
The ceremony was opened with a reading from the Koran followed by a speech from the Farah Province Chief of Police, Said Aqa Saqeb, who also hosted the ceremony. The Chief of Police stated that, "We will not let our enemies destroy our country anymore. . . now we have a Constitution and with the cooperation of the people the world will help us". Next the Deputy Governor Mohammad Juma Ghamko, spoke about the programs of support available for those who voluntarily handover weapons. He also praised Ustad Mohammad Alam for becoming actively involved in the Disarmament of Illegally Armed Groups (DIAG) initiative and for setting an example for other former Commanders to follow.
A further speech followed from the Farah Provincial Reconstruction Team Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Wylie, who began by reciting an Afghan proverb, "Drop by drop it becomes a river" and related this to the future of Afghanistan. He applauded the honoured guest as a patriot who had helped defend his homeland when it was occupied by their enemies and now as a patriot who has the courage to come forward and make a stand.
Nearly 40% of the cache is estimated to be serviceable based on its intended purpose, however, all of the cache could have been used to create Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), if it had fallen into the wrong hands. The ceremony concluded with a reading of the weapons list, followed by a prayer.