US supplies weapons to Afghan army at ceremony attended by Karzai

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US supplies weapons to Afghan army at ceremony attended by Karzai
1. Various of new Humvee vehicles
2. Helicopter flying overhead
3. Various of Afghan President Hamid Karzai arriving at the site and being shown the new army vehicles
4. Various of Afghan troops with new arms
5. Various of army officer showing new weapons to Karzai as troops watch
6. Various of Major General Robert Durbin, head of the operation to train Afghan soldiers handing over the ceremonial key to Karzai
7. More of Afghan troops
8. Karzai at the podium
9. SOUNDBITE: (Pashto) Hamid Karzai, Afghan President:
“These modern technologies, this military equipment which has been donated to us costs billion dollars. Now its our job to take care of them and use them in best way. If we do not use them in good way it means that we do not appreciate it.”
10. Cutaway of troops
11. SOUNDBITE: (English) Major General Robert Durbin, US Army:
” We are also working to equip the Afghan National Army with more reliable weapons similar to what’s on display here today. These modern technologies are a step forward towards the vision of the Afghan National Army: well equipped, well trained, well led and self-sustaining army.”
12. Various of military vehicles
STORYLINE:
The United States gave hundreds of armoured vehicles, trucks and thousands of weapons to Afghan army during a ceremony attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday.
The donation of 800 military vehicles and over 12-thousand light modern weapons is part of an effort at turning the force into a self-reliant institution able to independently carry out operations, said Major General Robert Durbin, who heads the operation to train Afghan soldiers and police.
“These modern technologies are a step toward the vision of the Afghan National Army: a well equipped, well-trained, well-led, self-sustaining army,” Durbin told those gathered at this sprawling military base.
Over 200 freshly painted Humvees, trucks and other armoured vehicles were on display along samples of the light and heavy weapons and even socks, underwear and gloves.
The donation of weapons and other equipment comes at a time when the country is bracing for a fight with the resurgent Taliban militants and other insurgents, intent on undermining President Karzai’s government.
It also follows last week’s announcement by US officials that the United States President George W. Bush will ask Congress for 10.6 (b) billion US dollars to help Afghanistan strengthen its security forces and rebuild from years of war.
The money would be on top of 14.2 (b) billion US dollars in aid the United States has already given to Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 that toppled the repressive Taliban.
Karzai thanked the US officials and said that such donations and further training of the fledgling force will eventually enable them “to stand on our own feet.”
Addressing the assembled troops he said:” Its our job to take care of them (the donated items) and use them in best way. If we do not use them in good way it means that we do not appreciate it.”
The US and other Western officials consider a well-trained and well-equipped Afghan security forces as an important part of a strategy that would allow them withdraw thousands of foreign troops currently providing security.
Last year, the Taliban launched a record number of attacks, and some 4,000 people, most of them militants, died in insurgency-related violence, according to a tally by The Associated Press based on reports from Afghan, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and US-led coalition officials.

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