Monday, March 23, 2009

Afghanistan: Certain Failure

A strike over the weekend in Kundunz province in rural Afghanistanan an unmanned U.S. drone killed five men. While the U.S. military insists those killed were terror suspects, the Afghan government claims that they were all civilians.

Thus, the War in Afghanistan extends into its eighth year. President Obama announced earlier in February a deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. Since last summer, there has been a rapid increase in the amount of U.S. drone attacks on Afghan civilians in rural areas. According to news reports, over 2,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan alone in 2008, the highest year toll in recent years.

Meanwhile, according to RawStory, U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke has declared the efforts in the War on Drugs to Afghanistan is a complete failure. At the European Summit Conference in Brussels, Holbrooke stated, "It is the most wasteful and ineffective programme I have seen in 40 years in and out of the government," The opium poppy remains an important cash crop for Afghanistan. Harvests have reached record highs in recent years under the government coalition led by U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai.

RawStory also reports that in 2008 the United States began "aerial fumagation" which spreads the chemical Roundup Ultra over poppy fields grown for heroin production. While these efforts may have decreased some production last year, its enaction is without power to control drug production.

Holbrooke aims to give Afghan farmers new incentives with an economic package designed to improve agriculture in the rugged tribal region. In pegging his attempt to persuade European monetary aid for U.S. military and political efforts in Afghanistan, Holbrooke has put the face of a lovable clown on the disfigured face of poverty, war and continuous military occupation.

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