Reports Paint Bleak Picture for Afghanistan

President Obama is expected to release a review of the Administration's Afghanistan policy tomorrow. Today, there are two new reports that paint a bleak picture of Afghanistan.

In a rare public assessment of the humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan, the International Committee for the Red Cross said growing civilian casualties, internal displacement and poor medical care have created a dire humanitarian situation and are likely to persist into next year.

...Separately, in assessments reported by the New York Times, US intelligence officials said Pakistan's unwillingness to crack down on militant groups operating in the lawless borderlands had created a major obstacle to progress in Afghanistan.

The LA Times reports that NATO claims the Taliban is forcing farmers to grow poppy instead of saffron. The Taliban denies the charge.

< Voting For Bad Policy | Blinders On The Norquist Strategy >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    The reports are bleak. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 01:38:04 PM EST
    Hence, we will continue.

    Well, if the Taliban deny the charge (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:59:58 AM EST
    it must be true, right? <snark alert>

    I don't see any good coming out of this.  It seems we have no coherent strategy, and I fear there will be a massive blowout in the next few years which will really be bad news for the US.

    Right, and US Inteligence... (none / 0) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:36:08 AM EST
    ... is know for it's candor and accuracy.

    From Pat Tillman, to torture, to civilian casualties, to billions and billions of misplaced cash in Iraq, to illegal/legal renditioning of god knows who, to Plame, to the Karzid's scandals.  And of course their complete break down of invisible WMD's and locating OBL.  The list of their deceit, malfeasance, and flat out lies is almost infinite.  

    The only reason I believe them in this instance is because the Taliban has absolutely no credibility and of course they want me/us dead.

    Which is truly pathetic, one group is dedicated to destroying our way of life and the other in protecting it and it's nearly a toss-up as to who is telling the truth.  


    Personally (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:45:34 AM EST
    I'll still take their word over the Taliban, anyday.

    I would take their word (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 02:01:20 PM EST
    on the Taliban before I would take the Taliban's word on the Taliban :)

    It is a strange world out there though, the more I learn.  So many of the people calling themselves Taliban are simple folks, impoverished, and defending what they believe to be a worthy effort having to do with their faith.  And then man, those that feed on them and use them and that are their "leaders"....they are very sophisticated in what they understand, how they plan and execute, and when we go toe to toe with them.  They are a very sophisticated enemy and just as able and dangerous as our special forces are.


    Agreed, But... (none / 0) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 12:49:02 PM EST
    ... would it shock anyone to find out we lied.

    Friggin Taliban (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:10:06 AM EST
    Saffron costs a fortune, and I love Saffron.  I love poppies too....but the world needs more Saffron and it isn't as destructive to the growers as growing poppies is either.

    I know. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:33:06 PM EST
    I priced saffron in the store one time and almost had a heart attack.

    I think the Taliban wants poppies because there is such a large market for heroin in Iran.


    I suppose they have all the connections (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:55:09 PM EST
    established to profit from heroin due to their past dealings with it.  Probably don't have that edge with saffron.  Wonder if it would be harder for them to control the farmers and literally confiscate their crop for pennies on the dollar too since saffron isn't illegal anywhere?  No need for secrecy and protection.

    And the US forces farmers... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:15:02 AM EST
    out of the poppy business and into saffron...what's an Afghan farmer to do?  Grow one thing the Taliban will get ya, grow the other and the US or their puppet forces get ya.  The more that grow saffron, the more the saffron price drops and poppy rises, and vice versa.

    Got forbid both sets of arseholes let the farmers and a free market decide...can't have that.  What a mess.

    Come On Bro (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:44:28 AM EST
    The free market is biggest myth of American culture, no such thing exists nor will it ever.

    We need not fill some third world farmers heads with that non-sense, pretty soon they will think lowering taxes decreases the deficit or that trickle down economics benefits anyone but the wealthy.


    LOL... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:51:41 AM EST
    yeah it is a myth, never existed, never been attempted...but I can't help but wonder if it might not be worth a shot, based on how rigged markets have served all but the wealthy.

    BTD's support for the war was contingent (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:36:40 AM EST
    on its impact on Pakistan, if I understand his argument correctly. That is, the war in Afghanistan was supposed to get Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
    How's that going?

    Depends on the day (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 02:04:40 PM EST
    On  certain days the anti Afghanistan War left claims that those affiliated with Al Qaeda are only a handful now and as weak as kittens.  But on a different day many on that same left will declare that they are handing our a$$e$ to us and we are being hopelessly and helplessly defeated....so it depends on the day.

    There is a possible solution (none / 0) (#6)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:41:29 AM EST
    but it probably won't fly with the DEA types in our country, from the Wiki, not suitable for academic research or the very young:

    A recent initiative to extend opium production for medicinal purposes called Poppy for Medicine was launched by The Senlis Council which proposes that Afghanistan could produce medicinal opium under a scheme similar to that operating in Turkey and India.[11] The Council proposes licensing poppy production in Afghanistan, within an integrated control system supported by the Afghan government and its international allies, to promote economic growth in the country, create vital drugs and combat poverty and the diversion of illegal opium to drug traffickers and terrorist elements. Interestingly, Senlis is on record advocating reintroduction of poppy into areas of Afghanistan, specifically Kunduz, which has been poppy free for some time.

    The Senlis proposal is based in part on the assertion that there is an acute global shortage of opium poppy-based medicines some of which (morphine) are on the World Health Organisation's list of essential drugs as they are the most effective way of relieving severe pain. This assertion is contradicted by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the "independent and quasi-judicial control organ monitoring the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions". INCB reports that the supply of opiates is greatly in excess of demand.[12]

    The British government has given the go-ahead to the pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith (a Johnson Matthey company) to cultivate opium poppies in England for medicinal reasons. This move is well-received by British farmers, with a major opium poppy field based in Didcot, England.[13]

    Click Me

    What Could Possibly Go Wrong... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:51:34 AM EST
    ... with a corrupt government making medical grade opium ?  I suspect a lot of very happy junkies.

    And for the record, there might be an 'acute global shortage of opium poppy-based medicines', but there is an unheard of supply of good ole regular opium.

    More than the junkies can self medicate with.


    Yes, growing poppies here (none / 0) (#17)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:59:44 AM EST
    instead of Afghanistan is untenable, given the conditions you've accurately identified here in American.  :-)

    oh wow, color me stunned! not. (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:46:02 PM EST
    we should never have invaded in the first place. if we were going to invade, it should have been planned better. it wasn't. and iraq was simply a duplicate. so, the bush administration ill-used the country's all volunteer military. but hey, that's cool, they meant well. sort of.

    bring back the draft, we'll be out of both countries in short order, guaranteed.