Thursday, February 22, 2007

Afghanistan: "The poppy will eradicate us"

From a World Politics Watch article by freelancer Jason Motlagh:
As the Taliban makes headway in the south and east, the largest-ever opinion survey shows one-fifth fewer Afghans believe the country is moving in the right direction compared to the eve of 2004 elections. Contempt mounts each day against President Hamid Karzai for failing to hold members of his government accountable. According to Crisis Group, his Anti-Corruption and Bribery Office has a staff of some 140 and has been operating for over two years but has yet to obtain a conviction. U.S. Defense Department and European officials say at least half of all Western aid does not reach those who need it. Drug-related corruption is most problematic at the local-regional level, though a number of state employees told me the trail leads all the way back to Kabul, where suspiciously lavish homes interrupt otherwise drab neighborhoods. Perhaps no one has defined the situation better than the embattled president himself: "If we fail to eradicate poppy, the poppy will eradicate us."
Read the full article.

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