Afghans offered cash for bombs (Afghanistan)

(27.02.2007) Canuck army launches rewards program STRONG POINT CENTRE, Afghanistan -- It could be loosely described as an Afghan version of Crime Stoppers, where the army wants your bombs not your name.


Canadians are using a cash incentive to get locals in the Zhari and Panjwaii districts, west of Kandahar, to report unexploded munitions.

The bombs, mortars and rockets, many left over from last fall's fierce fighting, litter the countryside and could potentially be used by insurgents to create road-side bombs or booby traps.

And somewhat like the crime-fighting program back home, the army's so-called small-rewards program offers money for tips on where already-assembled Taliban booby traps can be found.

The program is paying dividends for recently arrived troops belonging to the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Gagetown, N.B., who were warned last week about two hazards.

"They'll (financially) compensate people for information on whereabouts of weapons that can harm us," Sgt. Kevin Estabrooks of India Company explained in a recent interview.

"We had some positive feedback. The word is just getting out now, so we're hoping to see a little more."

Payments are made on a sliding scale, up to $250 US, depending on the type of munition or hazard. Anti-armour weapons, such as mines, could yield up to $150 and individual caches of bullets or machine belts are worth 10 cents per round.

Given the extreme poverty in this country, Thompson said they stress to Afghans that the army doesn't want them to go out looking for bombs in order to make a buck.

Von: 27.02.2007

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