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                  Updated 17 Sept -   Heavy Weapons Cantonment - Anti Personnel Mines and Ammunition Stockpile Destruction  - Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups - Afghan National Police Reforms - the new Afghan National Army, Afghan Security Forces, Redundant Soldiers, the worrying proposal to recreate Militias et al ..........
 
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Heavy Weapons
Cantonment

Afghanistan’s New Beginnings Programme, whilst undertaking cantonment efforts in Gardez, assumed formal responsibility for the nationwide cantonment of all known Heavy Weapons in March 2004. A national survey, conducted in early 2004, identified 4,368 heavy weapons (HW's) and categorized them into armored personnel carriers, artillery, anti tank, main battle tanks, multi launch rocket systems, mortars, surface to air missiles and others. The individual weapons inspected were further categorized as either wrecks, repairable or operational.

The actual number cantoned has far exceeded the original estimates. This is partly due to the relationships and trust that was developed during the negotiations together with the realization that it is not economic to maintain the HW’s nor viable to use them without air support in any potential future conflicts. Fast moving troops, using light weapons, that can then disappear will fight future battles.

The speed of ANBP’s cantonment programme was stepped up in the summer of 2004 by an offer of assistance from ISAF and the Coalition. The partners could provide nationwide coverage through their network of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. The partnership built upon ISAF’s earlier success. ISAF V volunteered in January 2004 to assume responsibility for cantoning all known HW's in its Area of Operation, in and around Kabul. ISAF subsequently declared Kabul free of Heavy Weapons in September 04.

Cantoning the larger HW’s is a huge logistical issue. The problems involved in locating, negotiating, transporting, fueling and lifting the vehicles are considerable and compounded further, by the distances, poor infrastructure and the restrictions imposed on the Programme by the terrain and weather.

The location of the 15 regional cantonment sites, Gardez, Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul (6), Kandahar, Kunduz (4) and Mazar, were agreed in advance with the MoD and ANBP. All HW’s stored in those guarded cantonment sites were immediately deactivated by removing and relocating the weapon’s breech block, fuel pump etc. The HW's were then catalogued and are regularly inspected to ensure that all is in order.

To date, the 12,273 HW’s are jointly held by ANBP and the MoD. The intention is to ultimately hand some of the HW’s over to the Afghan National Army as and when its capacity increases and the need arises. To date, 530 pieces, classified as artillery, anti aircraft, anti tank and mortars, have been handed over to the ANA but the bulk, comprising about 18% of the total, of communist era main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles, although functioning, are unlikely to ever be called into service. ANA personnel are currently being trained by NATO to establish modern Afghan armored units that use the latest technology that meet the demands of modern warfare.

Heavy weapons were redefined by the MoD to include any weapon with a caliber of more then 14mm and operated by more then one person.

The following are examples of the types of heavy weapons found in country after almost 25 years of conflict.

Main Battle Tank
 
Main Battle Tank
T34
T55
T54
T62
   
Light Armored
Vehicles
Light Armored Vehicles
BMP2
BMP1
BTR70
BMP1
BTR60
BTR80
 
 
BRDM1
BRDM2
Multiple Launch Rocket Systems
Multiple Launch Rocket Systems
BM13
BM-12
BM14
BM-12
BM-21
BM 22-27
LUNA-frog7
BM 22-27
S3 Rocket motors
SCUD
SCUDS
SCUD
Artilery
Artilery
D-1
D-1
D30
D20
130mm
M-30
85mm
100mm
ZIS-3
ZIS-2
ZIS-3
ZIS-2
Anti Aircraft
Anti Aircraft
DSHK2
Anti-Aircraft
   
KS12
KS-19
KS-30
KS-19
ZPU1-14.5mm-AntiAir
ZSU-23-4-Shilka-
23mm-Antiaircraft
M1939-(Type-55)-37mm-Auto
ZU23-23mm-Antiair
Mortars
Mortars
SPG-9
82mm
120 mm
Machine gun
   
Additional photos
from the field
Additional photos
from the field