Sunday Express - Sun 23 Dec 2001 - Page 20

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Our commandos stand guard over new era of peace

20 WAR ON TERROR Royal Marines ensure a smooth transfer of power in Aghanistan NEW ERA: Shuaila Siddigi and Sima Samar, women ministers, see Karzai, below, sworn in yesterday ROYAL Marine commandos sent to win the war in Afghanistan started yesterday to oversee peace, as a new era dawned for the war-torn country. Some 75 Marines, the vanguard of the international peacekeeping force set to take shape over the coming weeks, ensured the first calm transfer of power in Kabul in nearly three decades as Pashtun aristocrat Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Prime Minister. As his men went into action, the Marines' commanding officer spoke out against criticism that his elite troops have been assigned to a largely ceremonial peacekeeping role that could leave them exposed to danger. Trouble was at a minimum yesterday, but the challenges the British troops will face was highlighted when soldiers of the Northern Alliance, which seized the city last month, arrested t h r e e suspected armed Taliban fighters inside the Interior Ministry compound.

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