Afghanistan: May 11, 2002

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It turns out that 1,148 Pakistani Taliban volunteers were captured in northern Afghanistan last Fall. So far, 500 have been released and sent back to Pakistan. Most of those released so far were religious school students from the port city of Karachi (some as young as ten years old).

The anti-drug campaign is largely a failure because of economics. Farmers are lent money by drug gangs to plant and cultivate poppies. The crop is then bought for some 4-5 times the amount of the loan. But the government only offers money to cover the loan when they destroy the crop. Do the math. Meanwhile, the warlords use the drug trade as they primary source of income. The current interim government depends on many of these warlords for support. But nations supplying aid to Afghanistan want the drug trade stopped. But to do this will mean the central government will have to go after the wealth of its warlord supporters.

 

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