Afghanistan: November 3, 2003

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It's estimated that Afghan's gross domestic product is $4.4 billion, and that about $2.3 billion came from drug production and getting the drugs out of the country (usually through Central Asia and Russia, to Europe and beyond.) The government is dependent on outside assistance (especially money) until it gets the upper hand in the battle with the drug lords, Taliban and al Qaeda forces. It's a low level war that, so far, the bad guys are winning. But the government, with the assistance of some 12,000 American troops, are able to go where they want, but are not able to maintain control over large areas. In traditional Afghan fashion, the government is negotiating with as many of the warlords as possible, making deals. This is spreading government power throughout the country. But this control is spotty, and in between the pro-government areas there is territory controlled by other warlords, drug gangs or no one. 

 

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