Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hamid Karzai 'on the nod' at the U.N.

USA Today reports:

"President Bush said Wednesday that Afghanistan is becoming a safer, more stable country, thanks to the efforts of President Hamid Karzai. 'Mr. President, you have strong friends here,' Bush told Karzai after they met for about an hour at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel here. 'I expect progress and you expect progress and I appreciate the report you have given me today.'"

This is a joke right? Here is just a sample of the news coming out of Afghanistan today from the Afghanistan News Center:

* "Pro-Taliban militants beheaded two men in Pakistan's restive tribal region on the Afghan border on suspicions they were spying for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, intelligence officials said on Wednesday The decapitated bodies of an Afghan refugee and a Pakistan tribesman were found dumped by the road near Miranshah, the main town of the North Waziristan region. Hand-written notes were lying near both bodies, saying they were killed because they were U.S. spies.'Those spying for the Americans will have a similar fate,' ones of the notes said."

* Rosemary Stasek, former mayor of Mountain View Cal., who has lived in Afghanistan for most of the past five years told an audience at Niagra University yesterday: "Sexual abuse [in Afghanistan] is endemic. Domestic violence is endemic. Violence and sexual abuse against women is endemic. So is sexual abuse against girls, if you consider underage marriage sexual abuse. I do."

According to ANW, Stasek added that along with the sexual abuse of young boys the drug trade has led to the building of “monstrous homes they have built in Kabul. They’re called Narco Villas because they’re built with drug money.”

* "Preying on a weak government and rising public concerns about security, the Taliban is enjoying a military resurgence in Afghanistan and is now staging attacks just outside the capital, according to Western diplomats, private security analysts and aid workers. . . 'The Taliban ability to sustain fighting cells north and south of Kabul is an ominous development and a significant lapse in security,' said a recent analysis by NightWatch, an intelligence review written by John McCreary, a former top analyst at the US Defense Intelligence Agency."

* "An acute shortage of food items in Afghanistan and Pakistan have sent prices shooting upwards in both countries. But, while the food crisis in the war-torn country is a result of continuing conflict, north-western Pakistan has been suffering a shortage because of rampant smuggling of edible goods to Afghanistan. 'Re-building of war-ravaged Afghanistan besides affecting the prices of various non-food items has also had adverse effects on the commodity market of the bordering North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) because of massive smuggling,' said Sharafat Ali Mubarak, a leading trader."

Hamid Karzai must have been sampling some of the Horse produced from this year's record crop of poppies when he told Bush: "I don't know if you feel it in the United States but we feel it immensely in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has indeed made progress."

Yes, if by "progress" he means an emmence amount of heroin.

AP reported at the beginning of the month that:

"Afghanistan’s world-leading opium cultivation rose a 'staggering' 60 percent this year, the U.N. anti-drugs chief announced Saturday in urging the government to crack down on big traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police. The record crop yielded 6,100 tons of opium, or enough to make 610 tons of heroin — outstripping the demand of the world’s heroin users by a third, according to U.N. figures."

Now that's what I call progress!


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