Before and Afters

by Joshua Foust on 2/26/2010 · 1 comment

A Children’s Treasury of breathless media coverage, in non-rhyming couplet/quotation form.


The man with the most sway in Marja is Abdul Rahman Jan, the former police chief in Helmand. His officers in Marja were so corrupt and ruthless — their trademark was summary executions — that many residents welcomed the Taliban as a more humane alternative.


“There has been very little progress,” said Haji Abdurrahman Jan, the head of the Marjah shura and a former police chief in Helmand. “The foreign and Afghan forces have advanced only 2 kilometers from their descent point. This is very little in relation to their numbers.”


However that turns up, by this point in the game we have a pattern very firmly established: in the next month or two, there will be a major attack inside Afghanistan in retaliation. And it will kill a lot more innocent people. And we will rinse and repeat and wonder why we’ve made so little progress.


A crew of suicide bombers armed with grenades and Kalashnikov rifles attacked two guesthouses frequented by foreigners here early Friday, setting off a gun battle with Afghan police and killing at least 16 people.


In other words, opium behaves like any other agricultural commodity: responsive to demand and supply, with a fairly normal price elasticity and a fairly normal elasticity of demand. Yet, neither the UNODC nor most Western governments seem willing to discuss this in any great detail.


A record flow of Afghan drugs is shifting toward Russia’s North Caucasus on the back of a number of anti-drug trafficking operations in Pakistan, Russian drug control chief Viktor Ivanov said on Thursday.

Alright, you get the point.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 1 comment }

reader March 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm


We can’t mess with the opium crop, how else are we going to fund our black ops? And if a bunch of Russians and Iranians die of heroin overdoses, it’s just an added cherry for DC. You get good press for justifying the ongoing war on drugs and more dead foreigners. Isn’t that our overarching international policy anyways: propaganda for useless government programs and dead foreigners?

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