The 21st Century Phenomenon



The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, blamed Britain, on Saturday 09/06/2008, for the resurgence of the Taliban and its growing activity in large tracts of the country.

His remarks, made to Afghan MPs, follow a clash with Gordon Brown over the Kabul regime’s links with warlords and drugs barons and the tremendous increase of poppy crop which is estimated as 8,200 tonnes in 2007, accounting for 93% of global production. Helmand and Kandahar provinces, where there is a strong presence of UK troops, are producing about 2/3 of the total Afghan opium (see – Opiums kingdom).

Hamid Karzai claims Gordon Brown has threatened to withdraw British troops from Helmand province, where 31 British soldiers have died this year, if the president reinstates two provincial governors sacked for alleged dealings in the heroin trade in 2006.

The dispute breached out over the intention of President Hamid Karzai to reinstate former Helmand province governor Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, who was forced out under British pressure two years ago after nine tons of opium and heroin were discovered in his basement.

However, according to President Hamid Karzai, the Taliban have made advances since Akhundzada’s departure, drug production has increased and he believes Britain’s “interference” is to blame. Sher Mohammed Akhundzada is a powerful tribal leader and Hamid Karzai, clearly, want him and his tribesmen on his side rather than with the Taliban even if it means turning a blind eye to the drug industry.    

The allegations against UK troops put in question Hamid Karzai’s integrity. A UN report, released Tuesday 08/25/2008, said that the poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has fallen by about 19% in 2008, when compared with 2007, although in Helmand province opium production this year will fall only 6% compared with 2007.

On 10/12/2007, British troops took over, with the Afghan Army, Mussa Qala in Helmand province and almost uprooted the Taliban from the province. In the winter, using the harsh weather, Taliban regained control on some areas but the chain of events has nothing to do with governor Sher Mohammed Akhundzada who was dismissed already in 2006.

Hamid Karzai himself blamed, time and again, his neighbor Pakistan, especially after the Kandahar Jail-raid on 06/14/2008, of being responsible for the security deterioration in Afghanistan by negotiating with the Taliban and especially by making no effort to seal the border between the countries. He even threatened to send troops over the border into Pakistan to confront militants based there.

Hamid Karzai is asking, time and again, Europe and USA to increase the number of NATO-ISAF troops in Afghanistan otherwise there is a real danger that his so called “democratic” regime might fall to the hand of the Taliban. UK troops are the second largest expeditionary force in Afghanistan and the most efficient one. Over 117 British soldiers were killed in action in Afghanistan  

It seems that Hamid Karzai try to walk between the drops and to stay dry. He wants as much as possible NATO-ISAF, including UK troops, in Afghanistan. He wants to keep good relations with drug lords and tribal leaders in order to prevent them from joining hands with the Taliban and wants, at the same time, USA led coalition not to intervene in Afghanistan internal affairs. 


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