Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met with the two main warlords of northern Afghanistan on Thursday and said he is satisfied that they have begun disarming — if more slowly than some had hoped.
Rumsfeld met with Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammed, whose armies remain in conflict, at a dusty compound used by the British army as headquarters for a civil-military reconstruction project where they are working to improve security and calm tensions between rival factions.
Afterward, at a joint news conference, Rumsfeld said he told Dostum and Mohammed that the United States thinks their disarmament is “an important step for this country.”
He said “their response was certainly positive and appropriate.”
Rumsfeld also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai said the country was irretrievably committed to developing democracy. “The Taliban … will not be able to disrupt this process.”
He also said the problem of regional warlords “is being tackled aggressively.”