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AFGHANISTAN , DOES IT STILL MATTER ?

 
 
Reply Sat 2 Sep, 2006 05:57 pm
the BBC has put together several articles on the current and (recent) past
situation in afghanistan .
with what's going on in iraq and iran the situation in afghanistan seems
somewhat secondary , but IMO it bears close watching .
you might need about an hour to read through the information provided , and it
is not a pretty picture that is being painted .

the main article deals with the increased opium trade .

UN warns of soaring Afghan opium
---------------------------------------
A massive campaign is trying to eradicate poppy cultivation
Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is expected to soar by 59% this year,
providing 92% of the world's supply of opium, the United Nations says.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime predicted a 6,100-tonne harvest of opium,
with much of the rise coming in Taleban strongholds in the south .
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

other articles deal with such subjects as :

-Frustrated Karzai toughens stance .
Karzai says foreign troops need to adopt a different approach
Hundreds of people have died in southern Afghanistan over the past few weeks
and President Hamid Karzai is starting to feel the strain.

-Afghan history's warning to UK troops
British troops start the battle for hearts and minds in Helmand .
The British have made some disastrous decisions in Afghanistan - one led to
one of the worst massacres in the UK's military history.

- "If Afghans defeated the Russians, why not the Americans? "
Abu Khalid Al Misir
Al-Qaeda member

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
if you have the time , have a look at what the BBC reports .
it puts a different light on things - certainly different than what we read
here in north-america - most of the time .

hbg


...BBC REPORTS ON AFGHANISTAN...
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 14,676 • Replies: 199

 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Sep, 2006 06:22 pm
Thanks for the link, hamburger.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Sep, 2006 07:20 pm
the 'sunday times' reports from afghanistan :

"The drain on men and machines
By Michael Evans

THE British troops who have been sent to southern Afghanistan and the equipment supporting them, especially the helicopters, ground attack, transport and surveillance aircraft, are under increasing strain.
Operation Herrick, the codename for the Afghan campaign, may sound like some sort of fishing expedition, but it has become one of the toughest assignments for the British Armed Forces for decades .

Despite the claims by politicians that the dispatching of troops to Helmand province was all about assisting the Afghans to rebuild their lives after years of war, the senior military commanders given the job of carrying out the political objectives knew that the Taleban would not look favourably on the arrival of thousands of foreign troops in an area of Afghanistan where they had previously enjoyed a dominating role.

link :
...SUNDAY TIMES PEPORT ON AFGHANISTAN...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
from the CBC report on afghanistan :

Soldiers 'surprised' at Taliban resistance

The Canadians moved in with light armoured vehicles in the early morning after NATO forces had pounded enemy positions for more than 24 hours with helicopter gunships, artillery and bombs.

Taliban insurgents put up a stiff fight, using small arms and rocket propelled grenades to hit back at the Canadians, who later returned to their own stronghold.

Some soldiers expressed surprise at how stubbornly Taliban fighters had defended their ground, near a river valley that cuts a green ribbon through this desert area west of Kandahar city. Others noted NATO commanders had given everyone, including the enemy, a few days of advance notice before starting Operation Medusa in Panjwaii district.

"Truthfully, I was surprised by the resistance they put up," said Maj. Geoff Abthorpe, commander of Bravo Company of Task Force Kandahar and a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

link :
...CBC -Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - REPORT
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

and in the meantime the deathtoll is rising ... and more opium keeps coming from afghanistan almost every day .
hbg
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 10:26 am
from the BBC report :
"Francis Tusa, editor of the Defence Analysis newsletter, said from mid-2002 the international community took their eye off Afghanistan because they were more focused on Iraq.

"If they had provided Afghanistan with sufficient troops back then, we wouldn't be in this current situation.

"For British forces to try to police an area three times the size of Wales with a single infantry battalion of around 700 troops is a complete non-starter."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a canadian senior officer on leave from afghanistatan who was interviewed by a reporter from our local newspaper said :
"i told my troops not to destroy the poppy plantations of the villagers .
i need the co-operation of the villagers and they have to be able to feed their families . the money promised to the villagers never arrived , perhaps it is stuck in kabul "

i understand that much - if not most - of the money promised by western nations to the poppy farmers in afghanistan has actually never been sent ; and the money sent to the afghan government has a/t informed sources hardly ever made it to the villagers .
hbg
...MORE NEWS FROM THE BBC...
0 Replies
 
Chaplin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 10:40 am
Bush and Rummy screwed up the situation in Afghanistan with the same incompetence we have seen in Iraq; insufficient troops 1) to get Osama, and 2) never secured the country.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 11:11 am
In today's The Guardian, the new head of the British army has told that his soldiers are fighting at the limit of their capacity and can only just cope with the demands placed on them by the government.
Sir Richard Dannatt, who took over from Sir Mike Jackson last week, called for a national debate about what resources the armed forces should be given, and what value society should place on them, the Gurdian informs in its print [frontpage and pages 8 & 9] and electronic edition.

In his first interview since taking up his post as chief of the general staff, General Dannatt warned: "We are running hot, certainly running hot." He added: "Can we cope? I pause. I say ''just''."

Britain's new top soldier: 'Can the military cope? I say - just'
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 11:16 am
The British have lots of experience in Afghanistan and have dealt with such challenges before. f more men and resources are required then they should simply provide them.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 11:20 am
Obviously, the "simply" isn't just so simple.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 11:29 am
Taliban unnerves formerly secure sector:

Afghanistan success story loses luster

http://i3.tinypic.com/286xrvr.jpg

Quote:
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 01:10 pm
georgebob wrote :
"The British have lots of experience in Afghanistan and have dealt with such challenges before. f more men and resources are required then they should simply provide them."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the british certainly have a lot if experience with and in afghanistan ,
unfortunately the experiences have cost a lot of british blood - but didn't win them any laurels .
i seem to recall that about two years ago we had some rather heavy discussions regarding afghanistan on a2k - i doubt i'd be able to find it again .
the times points out that very little has been learned by the british and other western nations from those experiences .
it's interesting to note that the afghan people do not seem to have such a short memory .
hbg
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
timesonline july 9 , 2006 reports :

"It's not as if we don't have a history. When the paras moved into Camp Price just outside Gereshk in May and their commander had his first meeting with local officials, it took the Afghans just 10 minutes to bring up the battle of Maiwand. One of the worst defeats ever suffered by the British Army in which more than 1,000 men were slaughtered by the side of the Helmand River, the battle may have happened in 1880 but Afghans in Helmand talk about it as if it were yesterday and all claim that their forefathers were there.

If any further reminder were needed that one gets involved in Afghanistan at one's peril, the Kabul headquarters of the Nato-led peacekeeping force is on the site of the old British cantonment. Its entire strength fled from here in January 1842 after a tribal revolt against the British-imposed ruler.

Of the 16,000 soldiers, wives, children and camp followers who left, only one got away; the rest were massacred or taken prisoner by Ghilzai tribesmen. Only Dr William Brydon was deliberately left alive to tell the tale and warn people back home of the consequences of getting involved in Afghanistan.

In a country that has ended up as a graveyard for so many thousands of British soldiers, why don't we learn from history? "
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

for the full text see :
...AFGHANISTAN AND BRITISH HISTORY...
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 01:24 pm
Are you suggesting that there is something truly unconquorable about Afghans? Or perhaps that the world should accept Afghanistan as a permanent home for terrorist training and the production and export of illicit opium?
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 01:44 pm
here is a link to where one might find terrorist training camps ; how about pakistan for starters ?
...WHERE ARE TERRORIST TRAINING CAMPS...

and remember president bush's chat with the pakistani president about those camps in pakistan ?

...PRESIDENT BUSH VISITS PAKISTAN...

as far as the poppy cultivation is concerned , i think i pointed out several times that the people on the ground in afghanistan - both military and relief org - say over-and-over again that the money and resources promised to the local villages doesn't arrive there .
i really have no reason to doubt these people .
matter of fact there was a news report recently stating that "promised" relief money and money actually disbursed are so far apart , it's not funny any more .
two things come to mind :
'talk is cheap' and
'promises , promises' .
sorry if i don't sound very upbeat .
hbg
0 Replies
 
Chaplin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 02:48 pm
hbg, Sounds so similar to how Bushco treated the New Orleanians with promises of a grand recovery that's still waiting after one year.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 03:10 pm
hamburger wrote:
as far as the poppy cultivation is concerned , i think i pointed out several times that the people on the ground in afghanistan - both military and relief org - say over-and-over again that the money and resources promised to the local villages doesn't arrive there .
i really have no reason to doubt these people .
matter of fact there was a news report recently stating that "promised" relief money and money actually disbursed are so far apart , it's not funny any more .
two things come to mind :
'talk is cheap' and
'promises , promises' .
sorry if i don't sound very upbeat .
hbg


I don't know who promised what, but attempting to bribe farmers and distributors out of the production of an illicit product whith very elactic priices is a losing proposition. Law and an operating market economy are the only ways to limit it and even they won't eliminate it entirely. That however does not mean we should merely accept the situation.
0 Replies
 
Chaplin
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 04:25 pm
Aid to Afghanistan

Bush Promise: "I can promise, too, that America will join the world in helping the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country." (Federal News Service, November 10, 2001)



Promise Broken: "The low level of funding for the reconstruction of Afghanistan remains astonishing." (Center for International Cooperation, April 12, 2004)



Promise Broken: "Afghanistan has little money for reconstruction of any kind; the funds that nations and philanthropies promised soon after the fall of the Taliban in large part failed to materialize." (Arthur Levine, President, Teachers College of Columbia University, The Washington Post, April 4, 2004)



Promise Broken: "President Bush's former ambassador to Afghanistan James Dobbins called reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan `the least resourced, large-scale American reconstruction program ever.'" (Al Jazeera, March 1, 2004)



Promise Broken: "`Of course, the people see that nothing has been done,' Deputy Interior Minister Hilaluddin Hilal said... `This is a problem for the government of Afghanistan. If the U.S. would help rebuild Afghanistan, then the organizers [of the anti-American protest in Kabul] wouldn't have so many people joining them.'" (The Washington Post, May 7, 2003)



-------

Bush Promise: "Our military went to Afghanistan, destroyed the training camps of al Qaeda, and put the Taliban out of business forever." (White House Web Site, November 24, 2003)



Promise Broken: "Nearly two years after the U.S. drove the Taliban from power, remnants of the Islamic extremist group are regrouping and attacking U.S. troops." (Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2003)



Promise Broken: "The overlooked war continues with no end in sight. Narcotics trafficking is at an all-time high. If U.S. forces were to leave, the Taliban - or something like it - would regain power. The U.S. is lost in Afghanistan, bound to this wild country and unable to leave...The situation in Afghanistan, as laid out to me, looks nothing like a country alleged to be progressing toward representative democracy under American tutelage." (Robert Novak, May 31, 2004)



-------

Bush Promise: "We're helping Afghanistan to claim its democratic future, and we're helping that nation to establish public order and safety...We will stay the course to help that country develop..." (White House Web site, October 11, 2002)



Promise Broken: "This effort may fail. It will not fail because of a lack of desire, a lack of commitment by millions of Afghans, or a lack of bravery... Instead, it may fail because the administration has been unwilling to recognize the magnitude of the threats which we face and to direct sufficient political, military and financial resources to overcome them." (Testimony by Mark L. Schneider, Sr. Vice President, International Crisis Group, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Afghanistan - Continuing Challenges," May 12, 2004)
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 07:53 pm
georgebob wrote :
:I don't know who promised what, but attempting to bribe farmers and distributors out of the production of an illicit product whith very elactic priices is a losing proposition. Law and an operating market economy are the only ways to limit it and even they won't eliminate it entirely. That however does not mean we should merely accept the situation. "
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
i would think that afghanistan would prefer to sell its poppy crop in
" an operating market economy " - just like many other countries .
i certainly don't know very much about this subject , but a quick search has turned up some interesting items - and there are plenty more for anyone wanting to learn more about it .
below are a few links and comments .
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

...WHY DO AFGHAN FARMERS GROW POPPIES ?......TASMANIA GROWING POPPIES LEGALLY ?...

YES !
"The medicinal poppy industry has now been operating in Tasmania for over 30 years, and the State produces approximately 50% of the world's legal poppy crop."

my comments : the afghan farmers might be quite happy if they were allowed 50% of the legal world poppy crop .
would tasmania be willing to give up its share ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

...THE GLOBAL OPIUM FOR MEDICINE MARKET...

"Licensed opium poppy cultivation for medical purposes currently takes place in 12 countries around the world. The four main producers are India, Australia, Turkey and France. In each case, variables are adapted to national circumstances, and in each case there are clear differences in production scale, yields and economic and social importance. India, for example, is the only country in the world to produce licensed opium for export. Australia, Turkey and France use the poppy straw method and thus export Concentrate of Poppy Straw (CPS). "

my comments : there seem to be quite a few producers worldwide - i am assuming that australia stands for tasmania .
one certainly doesn't hear much about these other countries that are making money "legally" selling their poppies - seems to be a closed market ?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
and finally :
...HOW U,S $ DOLLARS DISAPPEAR IN AFGHANISTAN...

"To understand the failure -- and fraud -- of reconstruction in Afghanistan, you have to take a look at the peculiar system of U.S. aid for international development. During the past five years, the United States and many other donor nations pledged billions of dollars to Afghanistan, yet Afghans keep asking: "Where did the money go?" American taxpayers should be asking the same question.

The official answer is that donor funds are lost to Afghan corruption. But shady Afghans, accustomed to two-bit bribes, are learning about big bucks from the masters of the world.

Other answers appear in a fact-packed report issued in June 2005 by Action Aid, a widely respected nongovernmental organization headquartered in Johannesburg. The report studies development aid given by all countries worldwide and says that only part of it -- maybe 40 percent -- is real. The rest is phantom aid. That is, it never shows up in recipient countries at all. "

my comment : as i stated in earlier posts , much of the money never seems to reach the donor country : IT'S PHANTOM AID !
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
enough for now .
if you see any flaws in what i posted , i'd appreciate it if you'd let me know . i'm certainly no expert at this , but it seems to me that there is something wrong with the "official" explanations given by governments all over the world .
hbg
0 Replies
 
Chaplin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Sep, 2006 09:38 pm
hbg, I agree with your assessment on Afghanistan - and most everything else! .
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Sep, 2006 04:30 am
The International Herald Tribune prints a lengthy overview of the reasons for the Taliban's resurgence: it is well worth the 10 minutes reading:

Afghan symbol for change becomes symbol for failure
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Sep, 2006 09:37 am
thanks , walter !
i've pulled out a section from the report . i think it pretty well confirms what most people on the ground in afghanistan - including canadian soldiers and even some officers - have been saying for some time now .
either there has to be a complete change in the whole process of "pacifying" afghanistan , which would likely entail a very long commitment - many , many years AND large amounts of money - or it'll turn into a true fiasco and perhaps even a disaster .
our esteemed leaders seem to want to avoid the bitter truth or sugarcoat it .
hbg

from : the new york times"
"When the Taliban fell nearly five years ago, Lashkar Gah seemed like fertile ground for the United States-led effort to stabilize the country. For 30 years during the cold war, Americans carried out the largest development project in Afghanistan's history here, building a modern capital with suburban-style tract homes, a giant hydroelectric dam and 300 miles of canals that made 250,000 acres of desert bloom. Afghans called this city "Little America."

Today, Little America is the epicenter of a Taliban resurgence and an explosion in drug cultivation that has claimed the lives of 106 American and NATO soldiers this year and doubled American casualty rates countrywide. Across Afghanistan, roadside bomb attacks are up by 30 percent; suicide bombings have doubled. Statistically it is now nearly as dangerous to serve as an American soldier in Afghanistan as it is in Iraq."
0 Replies
 
Chaplin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Sep, 2006 11:52 am
The tragedy continues; a Canadian soldier was killed by US friendly fire.

What has Canada gained from their involvement in Afghanistan?

Are Canadians safer today than before their engagement?

Is the "sacrifice" of that one soldier worth what is perceived to be good for Canada?

I'm just wondering out loud.
0 Replies
 
 

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