Despite the continuous counter-narcotics efforts of the international community and the Afghan government throughout the past decade, Agence France-Presse wrote in April 2012 that Afghanistan continues to be a major contributor to the global drug supply. Approximately 90% of the world’s opium, most of which is processed into heroin, originates in Afghan fields. While potential opium production in Afghanistan peaked in 2007, poppy cultivation has recently risen. For instance, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) marked a 61% increase in the potential opium production between 2010 and 2011. A separate UNODC report from 2010 states that drugs and bribes are equivalent to approximately a quarter of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP).
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March 13, 2012 in U.S. Army
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2011 Annual Report
A decade after it began, the armed conflict in Afghanistan again incurred a greater human cost in 2011 than in previous years. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 3,021 civilian deaths in 2011, an increase of eight percent over 2010 (2,790 civilian deaths) and a 25 percent increase from 2009 (2,412 civilian deaths). In 2012, UNAMA re-asserts the imperative for all parties to the conflict – Anti-Government Elements, and Afghan national and international military forces – to increase their commitment and efforts to protect civilians, and to comply fully with their legal obligations to minimize loss of life and injury among civilians.
January 9, 2012 in News
The Defence Department is prepared to go to Federal Court and spend whatever it takes to prevent the public from seeing government photos of Taliban hairdos because it believes the captured insurgents have a right to their privacy. The department’s decision, outlined in newly released documents obtained by the Citizen, is the result of a test of the Access to Information law by two Ottawa lawyers, Paul Champ and Amir Attaran. To see how far DND would go to prevent the release of information about captured Afghan insurgents, Attaran requested copies of photographs the military took of such individuals but asked that the faces of the prisoners be completely blacked out and that only the hairdos of the detainees shown.
September 25, 2011 in News
Federal Minister for Interior A Rehman Malik on Sunday said that CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) of the United States not Pakistan created the Haqqani network and trained its members.Talking to media-persons at a ceremony held to laud the Islamabad police over the recovery of a huge cache of weapons, the Interior Minister said that the Haqqani network was present in Afghanistan and those claimimg otherwise should give the evidence of its presence in Pakistan.“We will fight the terrorists as our forces are capable of handling them and countering any challenge,” the minister said and added that it was evident from combating militants in Swat and other troubled areas that the law enforcement agencies were making sincere efforts to root out the menace of terrorism.
August 17, 2011 in News
After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both. The losses underscore the challenges the U.S. and its international partners face in overcoming corruption in Afghanistan. A central part of the Obama administration’s strategy has been to award U.S.-financed contracts to Afghan businesses to help improve quality of life and stoke the country’s economy. But until a special task force assembled by Gen. David Petraeus began its investigation last year, the coalition had little visibility into the connections many Afghan companies and their vast network of subcontractors had with insurgents and criminals — groups military officials call “malign actors.” In a murky process known as “reverse money laundering,” payments from the U.S. pass through companies hired by the military for transportation, construction, power projects, fuel and other services to businesses and individuals with ties to the insurgency or criminal networks, according to interviews and task force documents obtained by the AP.
U.S. House of Representatives Report: Warlords Provide Security for U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan
Security for the U.S. Supply Chain Is Principally Provided by Warlords. The principal private security subcontractors on the HNT contract are warlords, strongmen, commanders, and militia leaders who compete with the Afghan central government for power and authority. Providing “protection” services for the U.S. supply chain empowers these warlords with money, legitimacy, and a raison d’etre for their private armies. Although many of these warlords nominally operate under private security companies licensed by the Afghan Ministry of Interior, they thrive in a vacuum of government authority and their interests are in fundamental conflict with U.S. aims to build a strong Afghan government.
December 29, 2010 in News
Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have formed Colombian-style drug cartels that sell opium to fund the bloody nine-year insurgency, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable. Released by website whistleblower WikiLeaks, the 2009 cable rejects the popular notion that poverty forces Afghan farmers into opium production. A September 2009 briefing by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at NATO headquarters was told that the main factor driving Afghan opium production was coercion of local farmers by Taliban insurgents. According to UNODC executive director, Antonio Costa, opium production declined 22 per cent in 2009 to its lowest level in 15 years, with the industry centred almost entirely in the war-ravaged south.
October 14, 2010 in News
Momentum toward peace negotiations in Afghanistan appeared to grow Wednesday as a senior NATO official said the military alliance had “facilitated” contacts between senior Taliban members and the “highest levels of the Afghan government.” The official said NATO forces in Afghanistan were granting safe passage to Taliban leaders traveling to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government. “It would be extremely difficult for a senior Taliban member to get to Kabul without being killed or captured if ISAF were not witting, and ISAF is witting,” the official told reporters. ISAF is an acronym for the International Security Assistance Force, a coalition of troops from NATO members and other allies in Afghanistan. The official spoke in Brussels, where coalition members were being briefed on the war.
October 6, 2010 in News
Nato supply convoys travelling through Pakistan to Afghanistan have regularly come under attack in the past, but following Pakistan’s decision to block their route through the Khyber Pass, they now face an even bigger security threat. Hundreds of tankers and trucks have been left stranded on highways and depots across Pakistan, with little or no security. Taliban militants have regularly been targeting the convoys, even when they are heavily protected. But many believe it is not just the militants who pose a security threat to the convoys. The owners of oil tankers being used to supply fuel to Nato in Afghanistan say some of the attacks on their convoys are suspicious. They say there is evidence to suggest that bombs have been planted in many of the vehicles by the “Nato contractors” – individuals or companies who have been contracted by Nato to supply fuel and goods to forces in Afghanistan.
July 14, 2010 in News
A car bomb and gunfight at the entrance of a police headquarters killed three U.S. troops and five civilians in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, officials said Wednesday. An Afghan police officer also died in the attack on the compound of the elite Afghan National Civili Order Police late Tuesday night, a provincial spokesman said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
June 1, 2010 in U.S. Army
A current method used by the Taliban in Afghanistan to gain control of an area deemed of strategic interest to the Taliban leadership, which operates from safe havens in Pakistan or within Afghanistan, is to identify and target villages to subvert. The Taliban have recognized the necessity to operate with the cooperation of the local population, with their modus operandi being to gain villagers’ cooperation through indoctrination (preferred) or coercion (when necessary).
May 24, 2010 in Central Intelligence Agency
The recent capture of the Taliban’s code of conduct manifesto, “Rules and Regulations for Mujahidin,” has offered analysts critical clues into how the Taliban intend to operate as well as how the movement is structured according to the Taliban. Importantly, the new document provides Coalition and Afghan forces a catalog of weak points, vulnerabilities and fears currently entrenched within the Taliban organization and its top echelon of leadership. A thorough examination of the document reveals the Taliban’s attempt to wage a guerrilla campaign implementing a rudimentary population-centric strategy; while calling upon elements of Pashtunwali and Shariat (Islamic) Law into the doctrine as well.
February 16, 2010 in News
Taliban militants in Afghanistan on Tuesday utterly rejected the reported arrest of outfit’s second- in-command Mullah Baradar as baseless and merely propaganda. “Any report about the arrest of Mullah Baradar is entirely wrong and baseless. Mullah Baradar is in Afghanistan and commanding the war against NATO troops in Marja district of Helmand province,” Qari Yusuf Ahmadi who claims to speak for Taliban told Xinhua from undisclosed location.
January 24, 2010 in News
Since the suicide bombing that took the lives of seven Americans in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, the Central Intelligence Agency has struck back against militants in Pakistan with the most intensive series of missile strikes from drone aircraft since the covert program began. Beginning the day after the attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the agency has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports, which make almost no mention of civilian casualties. The assault has included strikes on a mud fortress in North Waziristan on Jan. 6 that killed 17 people and a volley of missiles on a compound in South Waziristan last Sunday that killed at least 20.
January 18, 2010 in News
The Taliban launched a wave of gun and bomb attacks on Kabul on Monday, with at least four insurgents killed and 13 people injured as fierce fighting erupted in the heart of the Afghan capital. A series of explosions rocked Kabul, with smoke billowing out of at least two shopping centres, and intense gun battles raged between militants and Afghan security forces as police and military snipers patrolled rooftops. “It is our work, the targets are the (presidential) palace, the finance, justice and mines ministries, and the central bank,” a purported Taliban spokesman told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
September 7, 2009 in News
A Swedish charity accused American troops Monday of storming through a hospital in central Afghanistan, breaking down doors and tying up staff in a search for militants. The U.S. military said it was investigating. The allegation that soldiers violated the neutrality of a medical facility follows the reported deaths of Afghan civilians in a U.S. airstrike in the country’s north last week.
August 24, 2009 in News
A top U.S. military official said Afghanistan’s security situation is getting worse, as Senator John McCain warned that there aren’t enough troops deployed in the country. “It is serious and it is deteriorating,” Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program yesterday. “The Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated. Their tactics, just in my recent visits out there and talking with our troops, certainly indicate that.”
August 10, 2009 in News
ifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed, reflecting a major shift in American counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, according to a Congressional study to be released this week. United States military commanders have told Congress that they are convinced that the policy is legal under the military’s rules of engagement and international law. They also said the move is an essential part of their new plan to disrupt the flow of drug money that is helping finance the Taliban insurgency.