Afghanistan: Drugs Defeat Democracy

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December5, 2006: In the south, near Kandahar, a suicide car bomber hit a British convoy, leaving three dead and 19 wounded.

December 4, 2006: Tipped off by an informant, NATO troops caught a large group of Taliban fighters in a remote area of the south, and killed over 70 of the rebels.

December 2, 2006: The Afghan police have returned to their corrupt ways. The attempt to train professional, and honest, police commanders, failed. Not enough Afghans accept the Western concept of civil society, but instead rely on tribe and family. Anyone outside that small group is fair game for any kind of criminal behavior. Police morale took an additional hit this past Summer when captured Taliban revealed that they were getting paid more than most policemen.

December 1, 2006: Opium production in Afghanistan appears to have hit about 6,000 tons this year, an increase of some fifty percent over last year. That much opium can be refined into 600 tons of heroin, which is a third of annual global demand. The drug trade has been a major economic factor in Afghanistan since the Pakistani government drove the poppy cultivation out of their country in the 1980s. Democracy is nice, but the drug money is a matter of life and death to many tribes and villages. The drug money has been one reason for so many refugees returning from exile in Iran and Pakistan.

November 29, 2006: NATO said it was winning in Afghanistan, even though about half the NATO troops in Afghanistan are not allowed to fight. Their governments will allow peacekeeping, but not peacemaking.

November 28, 2006: Pakistan is telling NATO they cannot defeat the Taliban (reflecting the Pakistani inability to eliminate the Taliban on their side of the border.) The Pakistanis advised NATO to negotiate a deal with the Taliban.

 

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