Afghanistan: The Battle For Heroin Central


November 1, 2007: Many of the Taliban military operations make no sense. In the past few days there was a raid in Western Afghanistan, where several hundred Taliban overran a district headquarters (a small town, sort of a county seat, with a few dozen cops and civil servants). The raid left four police, six civilians and 30 Taliban dead. By the next day the Taliban were gone, and Taliban propagandists were claiming the conquest of another district capital, at least for a few hours in the middle of the night. Further west, nearly 300 Taliban, moving in small groups, assembled in several villages outside Kandahar (the "capital" of the Taliban movement). This concentration of fighters was detected, and now the Taliban are surrounded. Civilians, knowing the Taliban tendency to use civilians as human shields, are fleeing the area. The Taliban move is linked to the death, two weeks ago (from a hear attack, not a bullet), of a prominent anti-Taliban tribal leader. But it's going to end with another massacre of Taliban gunmen. The Taliban will declare this a victory, because the brave Taliban stood up to the foreigners and their Afghan lackeys, and died like men.

October 31, 2007: In the last two months, nearly 300 Taliban have been killed in Helmand province, which is the center of the drug business. Here, about 40 percent of the nations heroin is produced (by growing poppies and refining part of the plants into opium and heroin.) That's about a third of the world supply. This one province is Heroin Central, and lots of Afghans (drug gangs and Taliban) are willing to fight to defend it.

October 30, 2007: The U.S. is getting more vocal in criticizing NATO countries that have sent troops to Afghanistan, but refuse to let those soldiers near any combat. Meanwhile, a few NATO nations (particularly the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia) do most of the fighting. Germany is the biggest offender here. The German troops want to get involved, but their political leaders back home do not. As a result, more Afghans (soldiers and civilians) die. Most European nations are willing to support freedom in Afghanistan with gestures, like sending money or troops, but not by risking the lives of their citizens.

October 29, 2007: So far this year, Taliban and bandits have raided 55 convoys carrying food aid for starving Afghans. These raids left 34 UN personnel dead, and 76 kidnapped (to be ransomed later). About a thousand tons of food was stolen (to be sold on the open market). This abuse of people bringing aid to desperate Afghans is an ancient local practice. Foreigners, no matter what their intentions, are seen as a potential source of loot. Tribes differ in their attitudes towards these generous foreigners, and some of the tribes, and individuals, prefer to take what they want, rather than wait for some foreigners to give it to them.


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