Amanda Kibel: Ex-Taliban members handing over weapons
CALAT, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The new interim Afghan government is taking power Saturday in the capital, Kabul, amid seeming signs of peace and unity near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar to the south.
CNN Correspondent Amanda Kibel filed the following report:
KIBEL: It is a momentous day for Afghanistan. And we have been in Kandahar for a number of weeks, and the response that we've gotten has been nothing short of overwhelming.
There is a very broad consensus in support of this new interim government and in fact in support of the new Afghanistan. People here feel generally that they would like to see an end to the war.
It's been a long, long time that Afghanistan's been at war. People have said they would like to see a process where the country is being rebuilt, where schools are beginning to function, where hospitals are functioning again.
The consensus is very much that this is the time now for peace in Afghanistan and a time too for unity in a country that has been very, very disunited. It's a country that is ruled by different tribal warlords, by different tribal governments, and certainly it's not been a country known for any kind of unity.
But people now genuinely seem to want a change. And certainly, we're experiencing right here at this very moment, a very practical illustration of that. We've traveled to Zabol province, to Calat, to see the handover of weapons -- not from pro-Taliban forces -- but in fact from a Taliban commander.
We're here with a former Taliban commander of Jalalabad. He was a very, very powerful general in his time. For five years, he held the position of corps commander in Jalalabad. And he has decided now to hand over his weapons. And along with him, come a number of people who feel the same way.
He left Jalalabad after Kabul fell. And he has decided now that it's time for peace and it's time to hand over his weapons. And in fact for two days now, we've watched as the negotiation process has proceeded to convince this man to hand over his weapons.
And Saturday we heard from tribal elders in Zabol province -- traditionally a Taliban stronghold -- who all voiced the opinion that the time has come now to lay down weapons and to move forward in peace and unity. It is a fairly momentous achievement and certainly one that will have enormous impact in Afghanistan.
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