[Vision2020] Afghanistan's Record Opium Crop
Tue, 05 Aug 2003 20:31:53 +0000
John and All:
Yes, of course.
But surely many people do not believe the connections between the CIA and
the drug trade you make here, and certainly not that getting the opium drug
trade back in operation was a significant factor in the US invasion of
I'm just amazed to observe that the condition of Afghanistan as a concern of
the American people is off the radar except for a few people, like Melynda
Huskey, who are really doing something to help that country.
Remember First Lady Laura Bush's public involvement with the rights of women
in Afghanistan? How getting rid of the Taliban was such a nobel endeavor to
promote human rights? What is the state of women and human rights in
Afghanistan now with the drug trade back in business and various warlords
really running pretty much the whole country except Kabul?
And then there are the reports of Osama "Where's he Bin?" Laden still
hanging around the area.
No wonder they want Afghanistan off the radar. The main terrorist that was
painted as the instigator, mastermind and financier for 9/11 is still at
large while we spend tremendous resources chasing Saddam around.
How convenient to have another war and bad guy to create a diversion from
the failures over in Afghanistan.
>From: "John Danahy" <email@example.com>
>Subject: RE: [Spam] [Vision2020] Afghanistan's Record Opium Crop
>Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 21:40:31 -0700
>Come on now, surely no one is surprised at this. The CIA financed opium
>operation was endangered by the Taliban's attempt to shut it down. We
>attacked Afganistan to start it up again. So much for compassionate
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
>On Behalf Of Ted Moffett
>Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 8:24 PM
>Subject: [Spam] [Vision2020] Afghanistan's Record Opium Crop
>While we are distracted with Iraq and threats of terror, Kobe Bryant and
>ridiculous repressive government policies that block people who love
>other from forming stable relationships, consider the lack of focus on
>interest in Afghanistan: a country we bombed to oblivion and were going
>It is as though the entire nation has ADD!
> Afghans on Edge of Chaos
> As opium production and banditry soar, the country is at risk of
>some warn, and could allow a Taliban resurgence
> By Robyn Dixon
> The Los Angeles Times
> Monday 04 August 2003
> WARDAK, Afghanistan - Two months after a gun attack, the bullet holes
>the Datsun sedan have been patched and it runs beautifully. But water
>engineer Asil Kahn walks with a limp and he still has two bullets in his
>body, one of them half an inch from his spine.
> The vehicle's humanitarian logo made him a victim in the battle for
>Afghanistan's future, where water engineers, mine-clearers and
>workers - people the country needs most - are prime targets for
>trying to destabilize President Hamid Karzai's interim government.
> The May attack on the Afghanistan Development Agency car in Wardak
>province, south of Kabul on the road to Kandahar, injured Kahn but
> "They weren't robbers or thieves," said Kahn, 46. "They just wanted to
>kill us. They're people against the government. They thought that maybe
>there would be some foreigners or some officials from aid organizations
>the car. That's why they shot us."
> U.S. forces have their hands full trying to subdue attacks in Iraq.
>with the slow buildup of a national Afghan army, an inadequate U.S. and
>coalition presence and poor progress on reconstruction projects,
>is spiraling out of control and risks becoming a "narco-mafia" state,
>humanitarian agencies warn.
> Already the signs are there - a boom in opium production, rampant
>and huge swaths of territory unsafe for Western aid workers. The central
>government has almost no power over regional warlords who control roads
>extort money from truck drivers, choking commerce and trade.
> If the country slips into anarchy, it risks becoming a haven for
>Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. And the point of U.S. military action
>could be lost - a major setback in the war against terrorism.
> Money spent on the war may end up being wasted, and dragging the
>back from chaos could be even more costly. America spends about $900
>a month on its forces stationed here, but little of the $3 billion
>authorized for aid in the Freedom Support Act has been spent.
> U.S. promises of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan raised Afghan
>expectations, but security and reconstruction woes are undermining
>for the coalition among ordinary Afghans. Their disappointment and
>disillusionment plays into the hands of anti-government militants.
> Humanitarian agencies, calling for a big boost in international funds
>security and reconstruction, contend that the commitment to Afghanistan
>relatively low. A CARE International paper in January stated that
>international aid spent in Bosnia-Herzegovina was $326 per capita,
>with $42 promised for Afghans up to 2006. For every peacekeeping soldier
>there were 48 Bosnians, compared with one for every 5,380 Afghans, the
>said. Yet Bosnia poses no appreciable terrorist threat.
> There are 8,500 U.S. military personnel leading the 11,500
>coalition forces in Afghanistan. An additional 5,000 international
>secure the capital city, Kabul. A key missing piece is an Afghan army,
>with only 4,000 troops trained so far, it will take many years to reach
>planned 70,000-strong force. It won't be ready in time to ensure free
>fair elections scheduled for June. Some of the 4,000 trained soldiers
>already defected because of poor salaries and low morale.
> The security vacuum outside Kabul has emboldened Taliban fighters, who
>constitute the bulk of anti-government militants, some who cross from
>Pakistan, others based in the east and south. U.S. officials say the
>controls part of the opium business, a rich source of funds to attract
> As security worsens, there are sharp differences between the aid
>and Western leaders on how to prevent a deepening slide.
> Many in the international aid community in Kabul believe the
>latest response to the security problem - small scale military teams
>tackling modest reconstruction projects - will have little impact and
>put aid workers at more risk by blurring the line between them and
> About 40% of the $5.2 billion pledged by the international community
>year has been spent but with little progress on big reconstruction
>like the Kabul-to-Kandahar road. Much of the money has been eaten up by
>emergency relief - food, medicine, blankets and tents.
> Haji Abdul Khaliq, 54, arrived in Kabul exhausted by 14 hours on the
>shattering, rocky track of a highway from Kandahar. It was inconceivable
>him that $2 billion had been spent in his country since January last
> "From what we can see, they didn't spend more than a dollar," he
>spluttered angrily. "There are no paved roads, no reconstruction of
>government buildings, no help for the people and no government salaries.
> "I think at first people were very hopeful, [but] day by day they lose
>hope," said Khaliq, a turbaned, white-bearded general from a Kandahar
>military base who is fighting Taliban militants in the south.
> The term Taliban can be a little confusing in a city like Kandahar,
>most people in power were once with the Taliban.
> Typical of many Afghan moujahedeen fighters, Khaliq is loyal only to
>commander. Though he's fighting anti-government militants, he is
>contemptuous of Americans and despises Karzai and his government.
> Khaliq said Taliban forces in the region were growing bolder. A June
>explosion at a Kandahar mosque that injured more than a dozen was
>aimed at the anti-Taliban mullah there. A day later another anti-Taliban
>mullah was shot dead in Nakobak village, six miles south of Kandahar.
> In the same week, said Khaliq, Taliban fighters from Pakistan set up a
>base northeast of Kandahar in Zabul province. Afghan forces attacked,
>killing a dozen Taliban fighters and capturing about five.
> The Taliban rebels offer local people good salaries - more than $100 a
>month - to fight, while Khaliq grumbled that he and his men are not
>paid at all. Afghanistan's severe budgetary problems are leaving many
> In Afghanistan, U.S. forces have not suffered the steady casualties
>by the much larger force in Iraq. But anti-government militants in
>months have killed aid workers, attacked mine-clearers and burned girls
>schools. In June, a suicide bomb attack in Kabul killed four German
>from the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.
> The security problem delaying the Kabul-Kandahar road project is
>the country the economic fillip of a six-hour trade route between the
>cities. Taxis can do the road in 14 hours, but truck transport takes at
>least two days.
> Taxi drivers working the road daily tell hair-raising tales of armed
>attacks by thieves and bandits. With something akin to nostalgia, they
>recall the security of the Taliban era, when they could drive all night
> U.S. forces are focused on eradicating remnants of the Taliban. But to
>many Afghans, a more immediate problem is bandits, often associated with
>venal commanders and warlords who control the roads.
> Sher Alimad, 38, a driver from the western city of Herat, said he was
>attacked in mid-June by five gunmen at Gereshk, about 40 miles west of
>Kandahar. He was beaten, tied up and thrown into his trunk, driven to a
>deserted road and robbed of 12,000 Afghanis (about $250).
> A surge in trade by small businessmen after the Taliban's fall is
>slowly strangled by extortion and banditry.
> A group of truck drivers sat wearily in the dust at Dashte Deh Sabz on
>northern outskirts of Kabul, after their loads of gravel for the
>brick industry were seized by a local commander named Maulana. They said
>had taken over the gravel trade.
> "He's collecting from everyone. No one else can bring it into the city
>except for him," said driver Khalifa Yakub, 21, who said he was beaten
>checkpoint soldiers and jailed for three days when he tried to protest.
>dream of running his own small gravel transport business has died. He's
>become an employee.
> "These people, they're commanders, they're dealers, they're
>they're killers, they're everything," he said ruefully.
> President Karzai has repeatedly called for the deployment of ISAF
>outside Kabul, a request echoed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
>international aid agencies, but resisted by U.S. and European leaders.
>month an open letter from 80 aid organizations called for a national
>presence, warning that efforts to rebuild and hold elections were at
> Karzai has called for international donors to offer $20 billion over
>years to help the country rebuild. CARE International called for at
> Playing down the security problem on a recent visit, Defense Secretary
>Donald H. Rumsfeld said provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs -
>military-civilian teams of 50-100 people deployed to rebuild
>- would play a key role in improving security. Four are working,
>of ISAF, and eight are planned.
> Lt. Gen. Norbert van Heyst, the German commander of ISAF forces in
>described the city as a "safe island" because of ISAF's presence, but
>expressed concern that militant attacks in the south and east could
>into the capital. However, he said, extending ISAF beyond Kabul was
> "For the entire country you would need 10,000 additional troops, and
>nobody is willing to do that," he said, adding that PRTs were a more
>realistic first step. "I'm convinced that this concept can improve
> It's a view contested by many in the humanitarian sector. Barbara
>Stapleton of ACBAR, the coordinating body for Afghan relief, said the
>military should focus on improving poor security, not duplicate the role
> PRTs "have neither the mandate nor the resources to have a significant
>impact on either reconstruction or security," she said, adding that the
>teams eroded Afghan confidence in the neutrality of humanitarian
>"In a highly complex security situation, they further muddy the waters."
> Stapleton said some U.S. military anti-terrorist forces had conducted
>crude searches in a village in southern Afghanistan, bursting into homes
>offending cultural sensibilities.
> "Then they went in later with sweeteners and built wells. And the
>refused to use them. It's actually a crude way of dealing with a highly
>sophisticated and very intelligent people."
>The new MSN 8: advanced junk mail protection and 2 months FREE*
> List services made available by First Step Internet,
> serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
> List services made available by First Step Internet,
> serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.