Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Is This Our Real Achievement from 12-Years of War in Afghanistan?
We went over there with a dandy script. The idea was to crush al Qaeda for all time; drive out their buddies, the Taliban; make Afghanistan a place for democracy and human rights, a beacon of enlightenment and hope in the midst of a vast, troubled region.
Now we're busy packing up the last of our kit and preparing to leave the world's greatest narco-state and a country with a wobbly security apparatus and a hopelessly corrupt government, a place seemingly just waiting to resume its unresolved civil war.
Drugs are the Afghan economy and, this year, the economy is good. Afghanistan's opium crop this year reached an all time, record high.
The expansion of poppy to 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) will embarrass Afghanistan's aid donors after more than 10 years of efforts to wean farmers off the crop, fight corruption and cut links between drugs and the Taliban insurgency.
"The short-term prognosis is not positive," said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Afghanistan.
"The illicit economy is establishing itself, and seems to be taking over in importance from the licit economy."
In Afghanistan it seems everybody gets a piece of the opium action - the government, the tribal warlords, the rebels - everybody. And that wealth will be used to finance the next chapter in Afghanistan's civil war without end.