The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), R.Gil Kerlikowske meets Afghan and American officials at a dinner held at the U.S Ambassadors residence on Feb 01, 2010. The third day in Afghanistan, Kerlikwoske visited the Sanga Amaj Treatment Center run by Social Services for Afghan Women (SSAW). This drug treatment center is populated by Afghan women addicted to opiates and their children that they bring to stay with them through-out their inpatient treatment. Photo: US Embassy Kabul, 2010.
As we get ready to pull out all our troops...
Insider attacks in Afghanistan continue to occur however but at a much reduced rate from 2012, according to a new Pentagon report.
There have been “nine insider attacks against ISAF thus far in 2013 compared to 35 during the same period in 2012″, the report notes.
Insider attacks risk “undermining international support for the mission and long-term support for the Afghan government, which could pose a threat to the transition process and stability beyond 2014.”
“The mitigation measures adopted by ISAF and the ANSF since the surge in attacks during summer 2012 appear to be making a difference, and to date, the rate of attacks against ISAF is significantly reduced. That said, these mitigation measures continue to diminish ISAF resources and hamper movement, speed, and activity on the tactical level. Attacks against the ANSF continue to rise, however, and may continue to do so as the ANSF assume greater responsibility for the security of Afghanistan”, according to a new Defense Deaprtment report http://www.defense.gov/pubs/October_1230_Report_Master_Nov7.pdf).
More than 590,000 Afghans had been displaced from their homes by fighting and Taliban threats by late August, according to the United Nations, a 21% increase since January and more than four times the number in 2006, when the insurgency began in earnest. Wazira, who like many Afghans goes by one name, is one of more than 12,000 displaced people from Wardak province alone who now share homes around Kabul, according to the U.N.
U.N. officials worry that widening violence could kick off an exodus abroad when American-led forces leave the country next year.
For those trying to leave Afghanistan altogether, the first stop often is neighboring Iran or Pakistan. Some who are wealthy or lucky enough head for Europe or Australia, which already is coping with an influx of Afghan boat people. Some 38,000 people from Afghanistan have managed to get into industrialized nations to apply for asylum last year, more than from any other country, according to the U.N., and the highest figure since the U.S. invasion in 2001.
The number of drug users in Afghanistan is estimated to be as high as 1.6 million, or about 5.3 percent of the population, among the highest rates in the world. Nationwide, one in 10 urban households has at least one drug user, according to a recent report from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. In the city of Herat, it is one in five.
From 2005 to 2009, the use of opiates doubled, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, putting Afghanistan on par with Russia and Iran, and the number of heroin users jumped more than 140 percent. Most drug experts think the rate of drug use has only increased since then.
In a country troubled by adversity, from its long-running war to rampant corruption, drug addiction ranks low among national priorities. Government funding for treatment and outreach is less than $4 million a year. There are just under 28,000 formal treatment slots available nationwide, officials say, and such programs rely heavily on roughly $12 million a year in extra international funding for treatment.
The focus of the international community and the Afghan government has instead been on reducing opium production. Since the beginning of the war in 2001, the Americans have spent more than $6 billion to curb Afghanistan’s opium industry, including eradication and alternative crop subsidies. The effort has struggled, and in many areas eradication efforts have been unofficially abandoned as too costly in terms of lost public support for government.
This last article I almost missed because like a lot of people, I tend to read the news that other people have already pushed through links on Facebook and Twitter first, then on various email services next, and then only later go through to the actual pages of news sites I might have book-marked or in readers. I might even actually visit the front page of the New York Times electronic version, but perhaps a story isn't on the front page.
I only saw the story of the addicts because my aunt still gets the hard copy of the Times delivered to her home and I read it there. I keep discovering every other week how many things I've missed in the next pages, the back pages, the pages in between a link or a tweet.
I cite these stories because these are all functions of the Taliban, and our withdrawal.
So much revisionism goes on now -- just as with the Soviet era -- focusing on US killings of civilians or blaming the US. The Taliban has massacred 85% of the civilians killed in the war; Karzai and his allies the other 15%. ISAF is considered among Karzai's allies, but is responsible for a tiny fraction of the deaths.
Nevertheless, the Nation obsesses one-sidedly in articles like this only about the US.
Yes, nearly 6500 people killed in 10 years is indeed an awful thing and if troops are responsible for unlawful killing, by all means,punish them.
But let's contrast that with the MORE THAN ONE MILLION CIVILIANS KILLED BY THE SOVIETS IN THE 1980S IN AFGHANISTAN.
My God, why should I even have to explain this?