Wednesday, July 28, 2004

NATO troops have been completely unable to establish order in Afghanistan. What makes anybody think the "coalition of the willing" is willing to do it in Iraq?
The aid agency has been in Afghanistan since 1980 - through the Soviet occupation, the mujahideen resistance, the Taliban's rule and the US-led war to end it.

Today, however, MSF [M�decin Sans Fronti�res] announced the "heartbreaking" decision to pull out of Afghanistan, only the second time the agency has been forced to abandon a country (the first was North Korea). The agency's 80 international staff will leave by the end of August. Its 1,400 local staff will lose their jobs.

The decision came nearly two months after her co-workers' vehicle was returned riddled with bullets and shrapnel from a grenade.
When Bush said, as quoted in Woodward's Bush at War, that his plan was "to create chaos, to create a vacuum" in Afghanistan, the sonofabitch really meant it.

UPDATE: while MSF leaves Afghanistan, their services may be needed in Europe now that the "opium harvest in Afghanistan this year will be one of the biggest on record".
David Chater, a spokesman for the social care charity Turning Point, said an increase in poppy production could mean lower heroin prices and make life tougher for people trying to treat addicts. . . .

[Labour MP Harry] Cohen said: "The rise in cultivation and production of opium poppies in Afghanistan has horrendous portents for us in the UK bearing in mind the PM's statement that 90 per cent of heroin sold on British streets comes from Afghanistan.

"The claim that cultivation tends to increase before declining gives no comfort and ... is not necessarily the case. It seems to me a hope more akin to peeing in the wind."

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