The Pendleton Panther

Archive for the ‘News – Afghanistan’ Category

There are over 2 million heroin addicts in Russia today.  Both heroin consumption and production has increased exponentially in central Asia over the last few years.  The majority of the smack is being produced in Afghanistan, where poppy farmers can make a fast fortune through growing opium poppies and selling them to their northern neighbors.  Not only is Afghanistan the world’s leader in heroin production, but it has also displaced Morocco as number one in the world in hashish distribution.  Viktor Ivanov, a Director of Russia’s Federal Service for the Control of Narcotics and Chairman of State Anti-Narcotics Сommittee, has therefore urged that NATO, which already has forces stationed in Afghanistan,  wage a war on drugs as well as terrorism.  However, the U.S. is reluctant to start destroying every poppy patch they come across, as doing such would drive honest farmers to the Taliban to preserve their way of life.  Russia and other former members of the soviet union, on the other hand, believe that destroying the drugs should take the priority, as the Taliban receives the majority of its funding through the sale of narcotics.


Afgan Flag

As sad as it is to report, it appears that things in Afghanistan are not getting any better, but in fact even worse. Violence is up nearly 90 percent in the last year as the amount of roadside bombing, murders and shootings are beginning to skyrocket. Obama continues to speak of change and that we have the potential to create a new beginning in Afghanistan, but the reality is that things are getting worse and at a faster rate. The biggest complaint coming from the Afghan people is directed at their own government. Many are unhappy with the direction the country is going in and take out their frustration in an uproar of protests. Many innocent people are getting killed and at a very rapid rate. The Taliban have retuned to certain parts of Afghanistan as well and are setting up trouble at any possible location where allied forces are based. The U.S. can only do so much to help rebuild this country; eventually it will get to the point that these people need to come together and resolve their political differences. The violence must stop and the Taliban need to be eradicated from the country in order to so.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is behind bars.  The Taliban’s second in command was picked up in Pakistan by U.S. and Pakistani officials.  With his capture comes fuel for the largest effort by the United States to root out the Afghanistan Taliban insurgency since 2001.    The focus of this new campaign is centered on the southern Afghan province of Helmand.  The Marjah district within Helmand is an apparent hotbed of Taliban activity.  Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was the leader of the Quetta Shura: the leadership council of Afghan Taliban.  Baradar’s custody is a major victory for allied forces in the Middle East as it is expected that insurgent morale has been greatly damaged.  The extra 30,000 United States soldiers that are planned to be in Afghanistan by the end of the year will work in conjunction with Afghan military and police forces to eliminate the terrorists.

Not everyone is smiling about the decision.

President Obama said on Tuesday that the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan is part of his strategy to reverse the Taliban’s and stabilize the country’s government.  Obama said he is going to begin sending  additional troops starting in early 2010 and will try to end it in 2011.

President Obama’s strategy is to deny Al Qaeda a safe haven, to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and deny its ability to overthrow the government of Afghanistan and to strengthen the security and government of Afghanistan.

U.S. Troops

President Obama gave orders to the top military and Diplomatic Officials on Sunday to send 30,000 more troops to the war zone in Afghanistan.  He gave the order ahead of his planned speech that took place on the following Tuesday that will outline his new Afghanistan war strategy.  It is said that before Christmas, at least one set group of Marines will be in place and deployed.  Obama has a full thought out plan, but he still has to let Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari know what is going on.  White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated that the ultimate goal that Obama hopes for is to train Afghan security forces to eventually take over the U.S.’s role.  Gibbs also stated that the president would touch on the budgetary impact of the growing war, but didn’t say whether he was in favor of a new tax on the wealthy to pay for more troops.  Already, some Democrats in Congress have backed his idea.  Obama stated that in the next year, there would be over 100,000 more new troops in Afghanistan and it would be an annual estimated cost of $75 billion.

Barack Obama adressing a speech earlier this year

Obama is getting the last details ready for the speech he will adress this Tuesday at the military academy of West Point, in which he would let the world know about United States’ plans for the war in Afghanistan. One of his many promises when running for President was the return of all American troops from conflict areas in the Middle East, but some of the high-ranking officials talk about an increase of up to 35,000 troops in the near future. Obama will also talk about a possible calendar of the retirement of the whole body that has been “promoting peace” in Afghanistan since 2001. White House speaker Robert Gibbs confirmed that President Obama had spoken on the phone with England’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Sarkozy and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. He is also planning to consult with other political leaders like Afghan President Hamid Karzai before adressing his speech. It is an important event and nothing should be taken lightly because of the delicate situation in the country. Americans will have an uptade of Obama’s strategy in the Middle East, so I think this speech is extremely important.

New Face, New Beginning

Chaos filled Afghanistan for more years then we could ever imagine, as they have never had a leader that represents what the people believe in. Especially over the past few years, chaos has been the word to describe the Afghan government and the citizens. The U.S. has done its part to make peace within the country and try to create a strong central government. All this hard work has now paid off; Afghans have finally elected a new president to rule their country, Hamid Karzai. The real test for Karzai now, will be if he can form a government that is approved by the Afghan people and the countries with a vested interest in Afghanistan’s future. Karzai assures those around him that he wants to set a positive example for all those around him and be an effective leader. Afghanistan has been through a lot in recent years, but it appears that they are now on the right path and are establishing a new beginning. This is a good day in Afghanistan and provides reassurance for the Afghan people at the moment. Afghanistan is far from becoming the perfect country but electing a new leader who is willing to create a strong central government is the first step in the right direction. 



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