Well, isn't this interesting. Hamid Karzai wants a security arrangement with us. Now that Afghanistan is all "sovereign" and everything they can make their own decisions, right?
KABUL, Afghanistan -- President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday he is preparing a formal request to President Bush for a long-term security partnership that could include a permanent U.S. military presence.
At a joint news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Karzai said he had consulted many of his country's citizens in recent weeks about "a strategic security relationship," with the United States that could help Afghanistan avoid foreign interference and military conflicts."
Rummy said the idea of bases was up in the air but,
?What we generally do when we work with another country is what we have been doing. We find ways we can be helpful, maybe training, equipment or other types of assistance. We think in terms of what we are doing rather than the question of military bases and that type thing."
But I read in the Asia Times on the 30th of March that:
"The United States is beefing up its military presence in Afghanistan, at the same time encircling Iran. Washington will set up nine new bases in Afghanistan in the provinces of Helmand, Herat, Nimrouz, Balkh, Khost and Paktia.
Reports also make it clear that the decision to set up new US military bases was made during Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Kabul last December.
President Hamid Karzai accepted the Pentagon diktat. Not that Karzai had a choice: US intelligence is of the view that he will not be able to hold on to his throne beyond June unless the US Army can speed up training of a large number of Afghan army recruits and protect Kabul.
Even today, the inner core of Karzai's security is run by the US State Department with personnel provided by private US contractors."
You mean, Karzai is just doing what he's told?
[I mean, the poor guy couldn't even go out to campaign in the presidential elections. The only time he attempted it, someone shot a rocket at his helicopter.]
John Kerry was right!
But as the president said, the reason we can't find Osama is because he's hiding. Maybe he meant to say "bribing."
The NY Times:
BERLIN, April 12 - The head of the German intelligence agency, in an interview published here Tuesday, said Osama bin Laden had been able to elude capture after the American invasion of Afghanistan by paying bribes to the Afghan militias delegated the task of finding him.
"The principal mistake was made already in 2001, when one wanted bin Laden to be apprehended by the Afghan militias in Tora Bora," the intelligence official, August Hanning, said in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.
"There, bin Laden could buy himself free with a lot of money," Mr. Hanning said.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Hanning confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper's account. She said Afghan forces had told Mr. bin Laden they knew his whereabouts and he would be arrested, but they allowed him safe passage in exchange for a bribe."
Kill them. Kill them all.
Maybe he should have gotten the treatment 3000 Taliban got at the beginning of the Afghan invasion when they were shoved into storage containers and shot.
In March of 2003 a German TV station "presented fresh evidence implicating US troops in the massacre of Taliban prisoners during the 2001 war in Afghanistan. Shown on the ARD channel, the programme presented footage, including interviews with two Afghan government ministers who confirmed the presence of American troops during the transportation and killing of surrendered Taliban prisoners.
"Hundreds of prisoners died of suffocation in the course of transportation in closed containers to the prison of Shibarghan. The transport finally ended in a stretch of desert known as Dasht-i-Leili, near Mazar-i-Sharif, where dead bodies were unloaded and several hundred prisoners who were still alive were shot to death.
And who was mother's little helper in all this? Why it was "forces loyal to the commander of the Northern Alliance, General Rashid Dostum," who is now the defense minister of Afghanistan. See picture of his American counterpart Rummy below shaking hands with another killer.
Now that the Taliban are defeated, or all dead....
Crime wave hits Afghanistan.
The Guardian reported last month "Armed robbery, kidnapping and intimidation have displaced the Taliban as the principal security problem. The line between cops and robbers is becoming increasingly blurred.
Demobilized Mujahideen fighters, underpaid policemen and corrupt officials are behind the lawlessness, according to Afghan officials, western diplomats, and victims.
Thousands of newly Demobilized mujahideen fighters have been inducted into police ranks. Many have retained their criminal sidelines.
The crime wave has heightened worries that a culture of impunity has taken root in the Karzai administration."
Hmmm...that's fine by us. More money for dodgy contractors like Custer/Battles.
The dope on Afghanistan.
Of course, the most successful part of our little excursion into Afghanistan is the drug trade, which accounts for over 40% of the economy. Smashing!
A report by the State Dept. given to congress said Afghanistan is "on the verge of becoming a narcotics state." That's cool. It's worked for us in Vietnam and Columbia.
But women are better off right?
Laura Bush was over there a few weeks ago and brought 23 million dollars for women and children.
Of course, Rummy went over there with 83 million for new bases, but hey. This is a man's world.
The Chicago-Tribune :
WASHINGTON - (KRT) -Human rights organizations criticized the Bush administration Wednesday, saying in the three years since the Taliban was ousted from most of Afghanistan, the United Stateshas not fulfilled promises of safety, freedom, education and health care for Afghan women.
"They have failed, misguided and betrayed Afghan women by giving them false hope," said T. Kumar, an Amnesty International advocacy director for Asiaand the Pacific, at a news conference addressing Afghan women's issues. "Three years later, they are still dreaming, and it may be a pipe dream..."
[See article on narco state.]
All in all, a very "liberating" experience. Iraq is all settled, now on to Iran!