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orevwa, la nouvelle-orleans..., 2005-08-31 15:04:56 | Main | doing looting right..., 2005-08-31 20:45:42

from the dept. of forgetting Afghanistan:

a curious thing - other than that 2,000-pound GBU-31s are still lighting up the Afghan skyline at a time when, by the broadcast news, you'd swear we weren't anywhere near Afghanistan - is that the number of US casualties per year in Afghanistan has increased every year we've been there: "This year is already the deadliest for US troops. Before 52 troops died last year, 47 soldiers were killed in 2003 and 43 in 2002. From October to December 2001, 12 US military personnel were killed." So far we're en route to double 2004's number in 2005. Apparently much of the violence these days in Afghanistan isn't coming just from Taliban remnants:

But while Islamic insurgents pose a threat to the contingent, the biggest danger, soldiers here say, comes from warlords who control the lucrative opium trade that floods the streets of far-away Europe with heroin. “The enemy’s motivation is mainly criminal, not political,” said Colonel Peter Baierl, the German commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the northeastern city of Faizabad.

Officially warlords and their thug lackies are banned from running for political office (on the other hand they can be politically appointed), but only 11 of 208 complaints against candidates could be 'substantiated' by some "Joint Secretariat". We defer to the Anonymous Source:

But ultimately "each decision was a different political judgement," said Basil Massey, deputy head of the UN disarmament programme, which had an observer rather than voting role at Secretariat meetings because it was the information source.

"There were no set criteria," Mr Massey said.

Another source gave a similar account, that decisions on who to exclude were made "keeping in mind political and ethnic rivalries".

Asked if this meant a relatively weak commander in one area with a small number of weapons under his control would be excluded, while another commander in a neighbouring province with more weapons and power kept on the candidate list, the source answered: "Yes"

We would hazard a guess that this is a matter of appeasing the disgruntled, nigh-insurgent Panjshiris in Northern Afghanistan that those NATO troops are so concerned about.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-08-31 20:21:08 CST | link





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