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Nic Robertson: Stability holding in Kandahar

Nic Robertson
Nic Robertson  

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At midday Monday, Kandahar, which was surrendered by the Taliban last week, was tense but calm, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

Robertson said he heard sporadic gunfire overnight and had received reports of intermittent clashes among rival tribes with some instances of looting, but noted that was the exception rather than the rule.

He filed this report.

ROBERTSON: Stability is emerging from the chaos. A new governor of the Kandahar province has been appointed by the head of Afghanistan's interim government, Hamid Karzai. That governor's name is Gul Agha. He was the governor of Kandahar before the Taliban took power here.

One of the first things he's been doing today is meeting with city officials and city elders. And also, he released 1,200 prisoners being held under Taliban rule; some of them were held for a number of years. He also gave some of them money so they could return to their homes.

That should help him build not only popular support in the city, but support from the leaders here.

Of course, getting to this point has been the result of some very intensive negotiations over the weekend, led by Karzai. But Karzai warns that although the situation is being resolved peacefully, it is still not clear sailing ahead. Here's what he said:

KARZAI: Soldiers will be on the street for a while. You cannot avoid that. We have removed a major obstacle in Afghanistan, and we have removed a major obstacle mainly through peaceful means. All the provinces that have fallen so far in southern Afghanistan have been done without fighting. You will have for a while some chaos in Afghanistan. We have to establish fresh order, and until that comes there will be here and there some difficulty. But overall, things are very good.

ROBERTSON: Despite the warnings that we will see soldiers around for a while, people are out on the streets here. The situation is tense, but it is also, at the same time, calm. It is because people here have been through 22 years of war and they're sort of used to that type of situation.

There are some commanders in the city and around the city who have yet to sign on to this new deal, and have yet to lay down their guns at the demand of the new governor. So, there is a potential here that there could be a return to fighting. But, all the leaders they've been talking to say they want to keep the resolution of this problem as peaceful as possible.


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