Index Research will focus on a country or an issue which is of particular interest to me. Articles have appeared on and others.

Monday, March 03, 2008


by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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All that can be seen from the air is a vast blanket of snow

1. Preface

The Obama-Clinton media Soap Opera meant that the winter disasters in Afghanistan remained widely unknown.

Reports were written but not read. The Guardian leader (01.02.07) echoed the despairing tone of these reports.

“It is hard to be hopeful about Afghanistan. Sliding away from progress, the country has begun a fretful, violent descent towards calamity that all the efforts of Nato, aid agencies and Afghans seem unable to stop. To be pessimistic about Afghanistan's future is not to say that the world should walk away: it is to recognise that reality is very grim. What is being done now in the country, at great cost in money and lives, is not working, and must be improved upon if it is not soon to be abandoned in the face of confusion, obstruction and defeat.”

The US policy failure centres mainly in the opium growing areas. The US blames the Taleban without being ‘transparent’ about its own massive profit in opium drug trafficking.


1300 Afghans are estimated to have died from the cold this winter.

Unicef gives the following estimate: 3.3-6.6 million post-invasion excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that should not have happened) in occupied Afghanistan).

Farhat Akram wrote in The (02.02.08) that “6.6 million Afghans do not meet their minimum food requirements, 60,000 children in Afghanistan are addicted to drugs and another 100,000 are disabled or severely affected physically due to prolonged conflicts in the country. There are about 8,000 child soldiers while an estimated one million are child labourers between seven and 14 years of age.”

300,000 animals have died since last December

Rory Stewart walked from Herat to Kabul through the desolate mountains of Afghanistan in another cold Afghan winter in 2001. Of modern administrators, he wrote: ”perhaps it is because no one requires more than a charming illusion of action in the developing world. If the policy makers know little about the Afghans, the public knows even less, and few care about policy failure when the effects are felt only in Afghanistan.” Rory Stewart, The Places In Between.


(click on the subject in which you are interested)
1. Preface
2. Winter In Afghanistan (Disaster and Death; General, Women, The Occupation)
3. Pakistan
4. Opium
5. Oil, Gas (A Wider Perspective: Global Oil Struggle, Oil and Gas in Afghanistan & neighbouring countries)
6. Aid and Trade
7. Human Rights
8. Some Afghan Deaths
9. References

More information concerning the occupation of Afghanistan can be read at INDEX ON AFGHANISTAN, NATO FAILURE: A WINTER’S TALE, PART II, here .

2. Winter in Afghanistan



Afghanistan: Government raps emergency response commission as winter death toll rises
06.02.08. Relief Web. Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Integrated Regional Information Networks

(ALL Reports can be read in Part II)


300 Afghans die from snow, cold over last 10 days, health ministry says
28.01.08. Santa Barbara ews-press. Some 300 Afghans have died in the past 10 days from bitter cold and heavy snow across the country, the Health Ministry said Monday..

One twin dead, the other barely alive in shadow of aid ministry
01.02.08. timesonline. Hassan did not have enough money to afford a plot in the cemetery for his son. So on a chilling winter afternoon four weeks ago he scraped a hole in the ice and mud above a drainage ditch beside the busy Darulaman road and buried Muhamadulla there. The boy was a month old and had died of hypothermia less than 100 yards from the warm glow of Kabul’s splendid new Aid Ministry.

Afghanistan: Snowfall wreck havoc in Sar-e-Pul
05.02.08. reliefweb; source: Frontier Post. Over 55 people and more than 3000 cattle heads have died of the heavy snowfall and chilly weather in mountainous districts of central Sar-e-pul province during the last three weeks, elders and people's representatives informed.

Blizzards and frost grip Afghanistan as death toll rises
05.02.08. A total of 37 people, including 20 children, have frozen to death in east Afghanistan's Ghazni province in the past 24 hours, the provincial governor said on Tuesday.

Child deaths spark pneumonia fear in Afghanistan
05.02.08. Relief Web; Source: Medical Emergency Relief International

Afghan gov't faces tough challenges in assisting cold-affected people
06.02.08. Xinhuanet.

Harsh winter kills more than 750 in Afghanistan
09.02.08. Reuters. … "Across the country, 763 people have died since the start of the winter due to cold weather and severe snowfalls," The cold spell, the worst in decades in the impoverished and mountainous central Asian country, has also killed nearly 230,000 cattle," said Noor Padshah Kohistani of the National Disaster Management Commission.

Noor Ahmad, 35, is seen after the doctors amputated his feet due to effect of cold at Herat main
hospital, south west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008.

Afghan Winter Claims Lives, Limbs
11.02.08. AP. It's the coldest this impoverished, war-ravaged nation has been in at least a decade — that's as far back as Afghanistan's weather records go — and so far, the harsh weather has been blamed for more than 650 deaths. … Temperatures this winter have plummeted to a low of minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit. The more mountainous regions have seen up to 70 inches of snow, said Abdul Qadir Qadir, head of the meteorology department.

Afghanistan suffers worst winter in 30 years
11.02.08. CNN.

Afghan thaw reveals winter toll
12.02.08. BBC. Officially 800 people have died, but many more will no doubt have frozen to death when the snow fell heavier and the temperatures dropped lower than anybody expected.

Harsh Season Overwhelms Afghans
12.02.08. P. Constable, Washington Post / antiwar. Hopes for Progress Battered by War, Weather, Economy and Regional Tension. [ In Charai Qamber], plastic and burlap tents are clustered on the icy terrain, each colony housing dozens of families who have fled different crises: laborers deported from Iran, longtime refugees forced out of Pakistan by camp closings, farmers from southern Helmand province whose villages were caught in fighting between Taliban insurgents and international troops. Some families have dug trenches beneath their tents, lined with scraps of carpet, where they can keep a little warmer by sleeping around charcoal braziers. But with temperatures falling to 25 degrees below zero on some recent nights -- exceptionally cold even by Afghan standards -- every night is another ordeal, filled with the sounds of rattling wind and coughing children. "This place is not fit for human beings…” .. Afghans are tough, resilient survivors, accustomed to harsh conditions and recurrent conflict. But this winter, the forces of war, nature, economic crisis and regional tension have converged with a vengeance on this long-suffering populace. READ life stories ..

Pneumonia Spreads as Winter Deaths Top 800
15.02.08. newsblaze. Over 170,000 patients with pneumonia and other acute respiratory infections have been diagnosed and treated at health centres across Afghanistan in the past month, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has reported. At least 100 pneumonia patients, most of them children, died in the same period, Abdullah Fahim, a spokesman for MoPH, told IRIN on 14 February.

Death toll from bitter Afghan winter climbs to 926: official
15.02.08. AP, canadianpress. More than 316,000 cattle have died and 833 houses have been destroyed, said Ahmad Shikeb Amraz, spokesman for the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Commission. Amraz said of the 926 deaths across the country, 462 have been in Herat province. Dozens of people in Herat have had their hands or feet amputated because of frostbite.

Afghanistan: Power Cuts Leave Helmand Shivering
21.02.08. "For God's sake, what kind of a government this is?" asked Sharafudin, who lives in Lashkar Gah. "Forty different nations have a presence in our country. Have they only come for fighting here? Or do they want to create an opportunity for us to have a good life?"

Cold kills 1,300 in Afghanistan
27.02.08. This winter is the coldest in the last 30 years in war-torn Afghanistan, with temperatures reaching lows of -30 degrees Centigrade (-22 Fahrenheit). Some northern regions have been without food and medical supplies for over two months.

On February 20, the death toll since the cold struck in December had risen to over 1,100 with around 200 dying in the past week and hundreds losing their limbs from severe frostbite, the country's Ministry for Emergency Situations said.

Afghanistan: UN rushes aid as livestock sector hit hard by extreme cold
01.03.08. The harshest winter weather conditions in nearly three decades has devastated Afghanistan’s livestock – with over 300,000 animals dying since last December – and the United Nations is providing support by sending some 80 tons of feed to the hardest-hit farmers.

Afghanistan's deadly winter - 12 Feb 08



State of the World’s Children 2008: UNICEF.

Afghanistan - Annual report 2008
02.08. Reporters without Borders. Afghanistan, which has been destabilised by an increasingly violent civil war, finds it difficult to protect its journalists. The Taliban kidnapped and then killed two fixers working with an Italian special correspondent and have launched attacks on several media premises. A court sentenced a young journalist to death for alleged “blasphemy” and security forces harassed the most critical journalists.


Too many young children dying of preventable diseases – UNICEF
22.01.08. irinnews. About 600 children under five die every day in Afghanistan due to pneumonia, poor nutrition, diarrhoea and other preventable diseases, according to the State of the World’s Children 2008 report released by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 22 January.

'When I first moved here I never felt I was living in a war zone'
06.02.08. Rahilla Zafar, Guardian. View from Kabul. Kabul has changed. It is not the city that I once knew and grew to love. It is the capital of a country very much at war. … Vast sums of money are pouring into Afghanistan, but ordinary Afghans complain they are yet to feel the benefit. And the international community is often at odds with one other - one friend of mine working with the UN says he regularly throws away the business cards of Nato personnel because "their rotations are so short it isn't even worth remembering their names".

Afghanistan's refugee crisis 'ignored'
13.02.08. R. Norton Taylor, Guardian. · Red Cross says unknown number are fleeing homes · Villagers are victims of Taliban and security forces. A growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is being overlooked as an unknown number of people are fleeing their homes, caught between security forces and the Taliban, Red Cross officials have told the Guardian. They say they have less access now to displaced people than at any time over the past 27 years. .. With the emphasis placed on security and development aid, large humanitarian needs were being overlooked, [Reto Stocker] said. According to British estimates, there are 23,000 displaced people in the Lashkar Gar region of Helmand province, the base for more than 7,000 UK troops.

Analysis: Afghanistan: troubled and troubling
14.02.08. Najmuddin A Shaikh, ***Excellent analysis.

Afghanistan establishes Disease Early Warning System
16.02.08. Xinhuanet. Nearly three decades of war, inadequate housing and poor environmental conditions are blamed for diseases in Afghanistan.

Severe Flooding Expected During Afghan Spring Thaw
17.02.08. L. Schlein, VOA. United Nations aid agencies warn the onset of spring in Afghanistan is expected to bring severe flooding in many parts of the country. They say they are gearing up to help tens of thousands of Afghans survive the worst of the spring thaw.

Energy Shortage Key Hurdle To Afghanistan's Development: IMF
21.02.08. worldbank. “An energy shortage in Afghanistan is fuelling investor concerns aside from the volatile security situation compounded by a flourishing drug trade, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Wednesday. … The IMF [mission chief for Afghanistan, Mohamad] Elhage welcomed the Afghanistan government's intention to link subsidy disbursements to the state-owned electricity company to concrete reform benchmarks. This, he said, should help modernize the sector and boost electricity supply.

violent bombings, kidnapping herald volatile 2008 for Afghanistan
22.02.08. xinhuanet. Recent fierce bombing attacks and the kidnapping of the Pakistani ambassador herald a volatile and insurgent 2008 in war-torn Afghanistan, where Taliban militants are showing strong resurgence, analysts say.

2nd mobile phone tower destroyed in S Afghanistan
02.03.08. Xinhuanet. Following Taliban outfit's threat to target mobile phone companies' towers in Taliban-held areas, the second boasting tower of ROSHAN mobile phone firm was destroyed in Afghanistan's troubled Helmand province, locals said.

Karzai doubts more troops would help Afghan security situation
30.01.08. earthtimes. President Hamid Karzai has expressed doubt whether the deployment of more foreign troops to Afghanistan will improve the security situation, in an interview published in a German newspaper Wednesday.

Karzai takes Afghan Cabinet out of Kabul
25.02.08. AP/wiredispatch

Karzai controls a third of Afghanistan
27.02.08. A|P / wiredispatch. 70 Percent of Afghanistan Outside of Central Government's Control

Afghan president condemns terrorist attack in neighboring Pakistan
01.03.08. xinhuanet. Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday termed the suicide attack that left some 40 dead in Pakistan as an act of terrorism and strongly denounced it, a statement issued by his office said.


Photo: Abdullah Shaheen/IRIN

Bleak prospects for country’s estimated 1.5 million widows
30.01.08. … Afghanistan has one of the highest numbers of widows (proportionate to the total population) in the world, owing to the armed conflicts that have bedevilled the country for over two decades.

Malalai Joya: My country is using Islamic law to erode the rights of women
31.01.08. Independent. After six years in control, this government has proved itself to be as bad as the Taliban – in fact, it is little more than a photocopy of the Taliban. The situation in Afghanistan is getting progressively worse – and not just for women, but for all Afghans.

Afghanistan: New Party To Focus On Women's Rights
20.02.08. rferl. For nearly three decades, Afghans have endured war and foreign occupation, extreme poverty, and the Taliban. Yet some suffer more than others. Not all Afghans are created equal. Fatima Nazari wants to change that. Nazari, an Afghan parliamentarian, is the driving force behind the country's first political party dedicated to women's rights and issues. She launched National Need on February 19 at a ceremony in Kabul, saying the party hopes to put women's rights at the forefront of the national political debate. It intends to run in the next parliamentary elections, likely in three years' time.

Women's lives worse than ever
25.02.08. T. Judd, Independent. Grinding poverty and the escalating war is driving an increasing number of Afghan families to sell their daughters into forced marriages. .. Banned from seeing their own parents or siblings, they are also prohibited from going to school. With little recognition of the illegality of the situation or any effective recourse, many of the victims are driven to self-immolation – burning themselves to death – or severe self-harm. Six years after the US and Britain "freed" Afghan women from the oppressive Taliban regime, a new report proves that life is just as bad for most, and worse in some cases.

Afghanistan: ‘A Tale Of Two Students’ Tells Nation’s Fate
28.02.08. F. Najibullah, rferl. The tales of Marjan and Malalai.


The Ashdown Controversy

Why Karzai was right to reject Ashdown
29.01.08.spiked. Ashdown’s appointment had the support of the US State Department and the UN Security Council; it was seen as a done deal. But then Afghan president Hamid Karzai, in a series of meetings with international leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, made it clear that he intended to block Ashdown’s appointment. Karzai said he was suspicious of Ashdown wielding too much power, and was generally unhappy with the policies that Britain is pursing in his country (1).

A Guardian leader (01.02.08) says: “Lord Ashdown could not have fixed all the problems identified in the report, but the west's support for his appointment was a sign that it understands the need for a better strategy. It was a foolish defiance, likely to leave the president caught between resurgent Afghan reaction to outside interference and western powers beginning to despair at his weakness and seeing talking to Taliban leaders as the only route forward.”

'Time running out' in Afghanistan
08.02.08. gazette-news. Afghanistan is a failed state and time is running out before a majority of people in the country want to see Nato troops leave, Lord Ashdown has warned. The former Liberal Democrat leader's warning came as he blamed "internal Afghan politics" for his rejection last month for the post of UN envoy for Afghanistan by the country's president Hamid Karzai. And Lord Ashdown claimed that he did not want the job when first asked by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Secretary David Miliband last October. See also Ashdown lays out Afghan plan (13.02.08 AFP)

Afghan chief criticises Britain
21.02.08. David Loyn, BBC/ICH. The governor of the Kandahar province in Afghanistan has criticised British attempts to negotiate with the Taleban. Assadullah Khalid told the BBC that the way two European experts were trying to negotiate was a mistake, and that is why they were expelled last year. The expulsion of experts was one factor in the UK's worsening relationship with President Hamid Karzai. That led President Karzai to block the appointment of Lord Paddy Ashdown to head the UN in Kabul.

Strange Fruit: America's Gulag and the "Good War"
05.02.08. * Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque/uruknet. The long-running "progressive" stance on America's 21st century imperial adventures can be reduced to this simple dichotomy: Afghan war good, Iraq war bad.

Afghanistan: The Brutal and Unnecessary War the Media Aren't Telling You About
27.02.08. J. Holland, Alternet / ICH. They say journalists provide the first draft of history. With the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, that draft led to an almost universal consensus, at least among Americans, that the attack was a justifiable act of self-defense. … But there's a disconnect there. Everything that followed -- secret detentions, torture, the invasion of Iraq, the assault on domestic dissent -- flowed inevitably from the failure to challenge Bush's claim that an act of terror required a military response. … In his book, < href=""> The Guantánamo Files, historian and journalist Andy Worthington offers a much-needed corrective to the draft of the Afghanistan conflict that most Americans saw on their nightly newscasts.

Afghanistan mission close to failing - US
29.02.08. D. Walsh, Guardian. Injection of troops and aid has not brought stability says intelligence chief. After six years of US-led military support and billions of pounds in aid, security in Afghanistan is "deteriorating" and President Hamid Karzai's government controls less than a third of the country, America's top intelligence official has admitted.

2nd mobile phone tower destroyed in S Afghanistan
02.03.08. Xinhuanet. Following Taliban outfit's threat to target mobile phone companies' towers in Taliban-held areas, the second boasting tower of ROSHAN mobile phone firm was destroyed in Afghanistan's troubled Helmand province, locals said.

3. Pakistan


"Pakistan's Political Crises," (pdf) updated 03.01.08. CRS.

Pakistan-U.S. Relations (pdf) updated 11.01.08. CRS.

"Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues," (pdf) 14.01.08. CRS.


Sibel Edmonds: Nuclear Secrets

Turkey's Drug-Terrorism Connection
25.01.08. Martin A. Lee, consortium. Editor’s Note: Former FBI Turkish-language translator Sibel Edmonds alleges that shadowy intelligence relationships involving Turkey, Israel and the United States may have helped Pakistan obtain a nuclear bomb.

For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets
06.01.08. C. Courlay, J. Calvert, Sunday Times
Turks and Israelis planted “moles” in military and academic institutions to glean nuclear secrets that were eventually sold to Pakistan – and that U.S. officials have helped cover up related crimes.

FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft
20.01.08. The FBI has been accused of covering up a file detailing government dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets

US journalists ignore Sunday Times scoop on FBI nuclear scandal
22.01.08. R. Greenslade, Guardian

Daniel Ellsberg urges the major U.S. news media to get serious and pursue these disclosures aggressively (22.01.08)

analysis: Rethinking Afghanistan
01.02.08. Tanvir Ahmad Khan, The Afghan Taliban, the “local” Taliban and their foreign allies will probably intensify their effort to destabilise Pakistan as part of their long-term strategy. NATO can live with a protracted low intensity war as long as casualties are low but the implications for Pakistan may be dire …

U.S. won't say who killed militant
02.02.08. J. Meyer, LA Times. Pakistan too is mum on who launched strike on a top Al Qaeda leader. … The U.S. government's reluctance to take public credit for the killing of Al Libi underscores the growing tensions between the United States and Pakistan over how to attack Al Qaeda as it entrenches itself on Pakistani territory, current and former U.S. officials and other experts said. The government in Islamabad won't allow U.S. forces onto its soil to conduct counter-terrorism missions, so Washington has resorted to airstrikes launched from across the border in Afghanistan. But despite the occasional success, few in the counter-terrorism community believe that airstrikes are enough, and some have been openly pressing for more access.

Bin Laden, Omar not operating in Pakistan-official
09.02.08. Reuters / ICH. Pakistan rejected on Saturday a U.S. official's assertion that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar are operating from Pakistani territory.

US Meddling

Pakistan's election discredited already, while US plans further interventions in the country
06.02.08. Zia Sarhadi, mediamonitors. [Article describes present political situation in Pakistan] Following: “It is the US’s intentions that must give him nightmares. The US has pursued a deliberate policy of destabilising Pakistan in order to have a pretext to seize control of its nuclear assets. Few analysts in Pakistan have any doubts about America’s real intentions. Since September 2001, when Musharraf joined America’s war on terror, he has been forced to use the Pakistan army to kill thousands of its own citizens to please the US. At least 100,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed in the border region with Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of more than a thousand Pakistani soldiers, most of them paramilitary personnel of the Frontier Constabulary, yet the US still demands that Pakistan “must do more”. What constitutes “more” and for what purpose has never been defined, but the idea is to pit Pakistani troops against their own people to create a wall of distrust so that, in case of a real emergency, when troops would need to fight an external enemy, they will have little or no support from their people.” …

U.S. helps Pakistan expand commando unit
06.02.08. AP / Guardian.

Pakistan rejects US military role
06.02.08. financial times. (registration necessary).

Pakistan is now the central front in America's war on terror
08.02.08. W.P. Strobel / J. S. Landay | McClatchy/ .. Pakistan's government is newly aware of the threats, but despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid, its army remains unable to conduct the sophisticated counter-insurgency campaign that Washington wants, the officials said.

Is the US Getting Ready to Strike Pakistan?
11.02.08. If the US has information as to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, why are they going to the media with it — unless it’s to ready the American public for a strike at Pakistan?

CIA Attacks Inside Pakistan Without Approval
19.02.08. J. Warrick, R. Wright, Washington Post / ICH. Unilateral Strike Called a Model For U.S. Operations in Pakistan. Having requested the Pakistani government's official permission for such strikes on previous occasions, only to be put off or turned down, this time the U.S. spy agency did not seek approval. The government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was notified only as the operation was underway, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. … Independent actions by U.S. military forces on another country's sovereign territory are always controversial, and both U.S. and Pakistani officials have repeatedly sought to obscure operational details that would reveal that key decisions are sometimes made in the United States, not in Islamabad.

Don't sack Musharraf, US and UK warn election victors
21.02.08. Independent / ICH. The US and Britain are pressing Pervez Musharraf's victorious opponents to drop their demands that he resign as president and that the country's independent judiciary be restored before forming a government. see also: White House, diplomats clash over Pakistan , Twincities / ICH. The Bush administration is pressing the opposition leaders who defeated Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to allow the former general to retain his position, a move Western diplomats and some U.S. officials say could trigger the very turmoil the United States seeks to avoid.

Obama vows to go after Al-Qaeda in Pakistan
22.02.08. newsindpress / ICH. Disapproving of US' reliance on President Pervez Musharraf in the war against terror, presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who raised a storm by suggesting unilateral action against al-Qaida in Pakistan, has vowed to go after the terror network there.

US moves to expand its role in Pakistan
25.02.08. F. Stockman, Globe Staff. Intelligence centers, aid package planned. US officials are quietly planning to expand their presence in and around the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan by creating special coordination centers on the Afghan side of the border where US, Afghan, and Pakistani officials can share intelligence about Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, according to State Department and Pentagon officials. The Bush administration is also seeking to expand its influence in the tribal areas through a new economic support initiative that would initially focus on school and road construction projects. Officials recently asked Congress for $453 million to launch the effort - a higher request for economic support funds than for any country except Afghanistan.

US cautions Pakistan over Taleban
27.02.08. BBC. The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that any new government in Pakistan should be wary of holding talks with pro-Taleban insurgents.

Sharif slams US war on terror in Pakistan
27.02.08. ICH. Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that the current method in the war on terror is not in 'anyone's interests' and that Pakistan will have to formulate its own strategies.

U.S. Plan Widens Role in Training Pakistani Forces
02.03.08. E. Schmitt, T. Shanker, NY Times. The United States military is developing a plan to send about 100 American trainers to work with a Pakistani paramilitary force that is the vanguard in the fight against Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas, American military officials said.

EDITORIAL: Who is behind the terrorism?
03.03.08. The caretaker interior minister, Lieutenant General (Retd) Hamid Nawaz Khan, has done the predictable thing that he learned in PMA by saying on Saturday that India, Afghanistan and the United States had a hand in the terrorism in Pakistan. US concerned over Hamid’s remarks

US “Aid” to Pakistan

Bribery, an Immortal Plague

Senators Seek Analysis Of US Aid To Pakistan
07.02.08. postindia.

Hassan rejects reports regarding $10bn US aid
12.02.08. Pakistan has received $9.3 billion from United States in the last six and half years and over fifty percent of this was reimbursement of amount, spent on providing services to coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan, Dr Ashfaq Hassan, Special Secretary Ministry of Finance revealed here on Monday. Talking to newsmen on the sidelines of a seminar, Dr Ashfaq said that reimbursement of amount could not be called assistance as being perceived generally in our country that we received over 10 billion dollar from US in assistance for joining the war against terror.

US Payments to Pakistan Face New Scrutiny
21.02.08. R. Wright, Washington Post/truthout. "Once a month, Pakistan's Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the US Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of US counterterrorism efforts. No receipts are attached. In response, the Defense Department has disbursed about $80 million monthly, or roughly $1 billion a year for the past six years, in one of the most generous US military support programs worldwide."

US aid cut will affect economy, say officials
23.02.08. Baqir Sajjad Syed, dawn. Pakistani officialdom is viewing aspersions being cast by the United States media over disbursements to Pakistan from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) as political blackmail “through managed media leaks”.

Coalition Support Fund
A list of countries provided with funds; created after 9/11 to reimburse key allied countries for providing assistance to the U.S. in the global war on terror.

Global War on Terror (pdf) Operations and Maintenance, Defense Wide Budget Activity 04 (pdf)

Up to 70% of US aid to Pakistan 'misspent'
27.02.08. D. Walsh, Guardian. .. Since 2002, the US has paid the operating costs of Pakistan's military operations in the tribal belt along the Afghan border, where Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are sheltering. Pakistan provides over 100,000 troops and directs the fight; the US foots the bill for food, fuel, ammunition and maintenance. The cash payments — averaging $80m a month — have been a cornerstone of US support for President Pervez Musharraf.

Ambassador goes missing in Afghanistan
12.08.08. PAKISTANI authorities are searching for the country's missing ambassador to Afghanistan after he was feared abducted in a troubled tribal area where Taliban militants are active and remains missing (23.02.08)

Pakistani Nuclear Officials Abducted
12.02.08. nti. Masked men yesterday abducted two Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission officials in the country’s politically unstable northwest border region, Agence France-Presse reported

Give us Dadullah, take Tariq: Taliban

Pakistan Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile
13.02.08. nti.

Fate of Ousted Judge Hangs Over Pakistan
23.02.08. S. Graham, AP| / truthout. Days after opposition parties triumphed in elections, lawyers chanting for President Pervez Musharraf's resignation were tugging at the barricades around the home of the judge whose ouster and house arrest helped trigger Pakistan's political crisis.

British aid office in Pakistan attacked
25.02.08. AP/wiredispatch.


"The US doesn’t want to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, because then they will have no excuse to stay in Afghanistan and achieve their economic and strategic goals in the region ... After seven years, there is no peace, human rights, democracy or reconstruction in Afghanistan. The destitution and suffering of our people is increasing everyday. ...We believe that if the troops leave Afghanistan, our people will become more free and come out of their current puzzlement and doubts ... Afghanistan’s freedom can only be achieved by Afghan people themselves. Relying on one enemy to defeat another is a wrong policy which has just tightened the grip of the Northern Alliance and their masters on the neck of our nation. Mike Whitney quoting RAWA .

4. Opium

"There are no quick fixes to the poppy problem in Afghanistan, I would say aerial eradication is wrong, it will drive farmers, the vast majority of whom are very poor and trying to feed their families into the hands of the Taleban and that would be a big mistake Matt Walden, Oxfam director in open letter to Gordon Brown (31.01.08)


Afghanistan: Economic Incentives and Development Initiatives to Reduce Opium Production
05.02.08. Summary, Relief Web. Source: United Kingdom Department for International Development; The World Bank Group (DFID)

UNODC anticipates another large opium crop in Afghanistan in 2008
February 2008, Unodoc.

The 2008 edition of the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, US. Dept. of State,
Vol I: Drug and Chemical Control
Vol II: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes


Record amount of illegal drugs seized in Tajikistan
31.01.08. Tajikistan remains one of the main transit routes for Afghan opium intended for Russia and Western European countries. According to the United Nations, 19% of Afghan opium is shipped via Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, but the bulk of the drugs is shipped via Iran and Pakistan.

Afghanistan's Opium Trail
01.02.08. journeyman. Over 90% of the world’s opium now comes from Afghanistan. In this shocking new film, we ride the drugs caravan, from cultivation, to process, to market. On route, we lift the curtain on the hidden world of the drug barons; learn how to process heroin in the crudest of laboratories and encounter deadly gunfights on the Iranian border...

Waltzing on US tunes
*02.02.08. Farhat Akram, Since the commencement of the war on terror, the people of Afghanistan have seldom experienced the transience of emancipation as a result of the sole super power and “security” provider and its allies. Afghanistan has become a classical example of unfulfilled promises. … He [Karzai] is forgetting that after the passing of seven years of the war on terrorism in his country, the global human development index (HDI), ranks Afghanistan at 174th position out of 178 countries while the Human Poverty Index Index describes the country as “one of the worst in the world.” … In 2007, Afghanistan cultivated 193,000 hectares of opium poppies, an increase of 17 percent over the last year. The amount of Afghan land used for opium is now larger than the corresponding total for coca cultivation in Latin America (Colombia, Peru and Bolivia combined). Favourable weather conditions produced opium yields (42.5 kg per hectare) higher than last year (37.0 kg/ha). As a result, in 2007 Afghanistan produced an extraordinary 8,200 tons of opium (34 percent more than in 2006), becoming practically the exclusive supplier of the world’s deadliest drug (93 percent of the global opiates market).

More action needed on Afghan opium: UN representative
04.02.08. AFP. Afghanistan has done little to stop the corruption propping up its drugs trade and its war-shattered institutions are too weak to handle the problem, the UN representative on drugs here said. … Traffickers provide weapons, funding and personnel to anti-government rebels, while corrupt officials offer protection of drug trade routes, poppy fields and people, it said. … Afghanistan's opium, increasingly turned into heroin inside the country, feeds drugs users in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East [and the USA]

World Bank Urges Counter-Opium Measures
05.02.08. AP. The world needs to invest more than $2 billion in irrigation, roads and other rural development to wean Afghanistan off booming opium cultivation, a development bank report said Tuesday. … Needed steps include boosting community-based development projects, expanding irrigation, increasing use of livestock, and helping rural businesses and entrepreneurs thrive, it said. The proposals include investments of $1.2 billion to expand the land under irrigation, $550 million to boost rural enterprise development, and $400 million for rural road planning, construction and maintenance.

Report urges Afghan farmer boost
05.02.08. D. Loyn, BBC. A new report on Afghanistan's drugs trade urges more investment to provide alternative livelihoods for farmers.

Opium economy will take 20 years and £1bn to remove
06.02.08. Patrick Wintour, Guardian. Europe and other major heroin markets should brace themselves for health consequences of harvest, warns UN. … Compiled by the Department of International Development and the World Bank, the analysis suggests at least an extra £1bn needs to be invested in irrigation, roads, alternative crops and rural development to attract farmers away from the lucrative and growing opium industry.

Taliban to Raise $100 Million From Afghan Opium Crop
06.02.08. Ed Johnson, Bloomberg. Afghanistan provides more than 90 percent of the world's supply of opium, the raw ingredient for heroin.

Opium economy will take 20 years and £1bn to remove
06.02.08. P. Wintour, Guardian. Analysis of report compiled by the Department of International Development and the World Bank.

UN: Afghan rebels growing more opium
06.02.08. AP,

U.S. Militarism & the Drug Trade: the Afghan Dossier
06.02.08. antifascist-calling.blogspot [later also at global research]. Essay on two reports and 06.02 Guardian article {see above].

AFGHANISTAN: Booming heroin crop finding its way to Australian streets
08.02.08. radioaustralia. … Afghan opium production is booming. It now accounts for 90 per cent of the world's supply.

The development weapon poised for wielding in Afghanistan
[no date].. The programmes to defuse "terror" in our part of the world could be fundamentally deficient if this task is narrowly conceived by governments as consisting of only armed action to crush and eliminate terror outfits. There is much more than meets the eye here. Poverty, hunger and deprivation drive people to arms and bring them under the sway of divisive ideologies. Programmes to eliminate economic inequity and all other forms inequality could go a considerable distance in ending violent dissension in Third World polities.

Afghanistan Drug Trafficking
Editorial, VOA. [no date; also includes 1 download, Drugtaking in Afghanistan; and one ‘listen to.’

Afghan Opium Fields Show Failure of U.S. Economic-Aid Efforts
11.02.08. Bloomberg. For two years, Yosuf and Abdul Mir pleaded with U.S. officials for a $1.5 million grant for their project, arguing that it meshes perfectly with a billion-dollar-a-year American opium-eradication program. Then, last year, they were turned down. The Agency for International Development's refusal reflects a broader American policy breakdown in Afghanistan, according to critics: Even as the U.S. and NATO win tactical military battles against the Taliban, they may be losing the war through an inability to create the economic and political environment needed to defeat the insurgents.

U.K. Soldiers Seize Ton of Opium, Heroin Haul in Afghanistan
12.02.08. Bloomberg. British and Afghan troops seized a ton of opium and 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of heroin powder as part of an effort to cut off funding for Taliban insurgents. The bust, made north of the town of Sagin in the southern Helmand province, came after soldiers fought with a ``large number'' of insurgents, who tried to protect the drug lab with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence said today in an e-mailed statement.

Russian state TV suggests USA involved in drug-trafficking from Afghanistan
19.02.08. [The report] also highlighted the problem of drug abuse in the British army. … The report then featured an extract from a BBC news website story saying that the British army loses a whole battalion of troops a year because of drug abuse.

Afghan farmers earn about $1 bln from opium- IMF
20.02.08. Reuters. It [the International Monetary Fund] said opium production in Afghanistan had spiralled to 8,200 tonnes in 2007, significantly higher than the 185 tonnes in 2001, as the security situation has worsened in the country, making it the world's largest opium producer. [what profit did governments make from the opium trade?]

Opium strategy useless, Fitzgibbon tells US
20.02.08. The blunt advice was revealed as the Federal Government announced it would rejig its troop commitment to Afghanistan, sending a 70-member military training team into the troubled province of Oruzgan while winding back its reconstruction team. … The surge in opium cultivation from a base of almost zero before the US-led invasion in 2001 has vexed military commanders, political leaders and civilian planners. Although it is clear that opium production is financing the insurgency, it is also the only livelihood for tens of thousands of impoverished farmers and their families.

The Poppy Problem
21.02.08. M. Cocco, Truthdig. With Pakistan undergoing an uncertain political transition, Afghanistan next door provides an opportunity to make quicker and potentially more dramatic progress against what has been an unrelenting slide into violence, insecurity and corruption. The United States and its allies must rethink their failing effort to stanch the trade in illegal poppies, the Afghan bumper crop that finances the resurgent Taliban and terrorist groups in the region. It will not come easily because the Bush administration is convinced the current strategy of eradicating crops—plowing them under before a harvest and trying to convince farmers to grow legitimate products—is working. But there is limited evidence of that.

Narco Aggression: Russia accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking out of Afghanistan
24.02.08. Vladimir Radyuhin, global research.

Global Research Editor's Note

The global proceeds of the Afghan drug trade is in excess of 150 billion dollars a year. There is mounting evidence that this illicit trade is protected by the US military. Historically, starting in the early 1980s, the Afghan drug trade was used to finance CIA covert support of the Islamic brigades. The 2003 war on Afghanistan was launched following the Taliban government's 2000-2001 drug eradication program which led to a collapse in opium production in excess of 90 percent.

26.02.08. J. Daly, Alarmed by the rise of opium cultivation in Afghanistan, Russia’s Federal Drug Enforcement Service has opened a permanent office in Kabul, Afghanistan.

U.S.: Afghan drug trade funds Taliban
29.02.08. CNN. "There is incontrovertible evidence that the Taliban use drug trafficking proceeds to fund insurgent activities," he said.

Governor of volatile Afghan province removed from post
29.02.08. AP / IHT. The governor of volatile Helmand province was removed from his post Friday after a year of record opium production and insurgency-related violence in the province. Asadullah Wafa, who was appointed in December 2006 amid hope that he would be able to stabilize the province, said President Hamid Karzai issued a decree Friday releasing him from the Helmand post. His removal leaves the country's key area in the battle against insurgents and narcotics without direct government representation, and comes after a series of confrontations between Wafa and British officials in the province over counterinsurgency strategy and the crackdown on drug production.
Afghanistan parliament approves new drugs minister (01.03.08)

Global Terrorist And Drug Trafficking Cartels
01.03.08. M. Webster. The drugs raised in Afghanistan finds its way via smuggling routes into markets in both Europe and the United States where they are sold. In turn millions of dollars and Eros are used to fund terrorist and their terror not only in Afghanistan but around the world. Most of these same terrorist drug organizations that fuel the terror network also help to fund the Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. Part of this illicit cash provides operating capital for international terrorist Osama Bin Laden and others. .. Unlike their counterparts in Colombia, the terrorists in Afghanistan enjoy the benefits of a trafficker-driven economy that lacks a national government who has any interest in combating it. … Those involved in the drug trade in the Middle East are as serious about their investment as their violent counterparts in countries such as Colombia, Mexico and the Golden Triangle cartels.

At first, I thought the above article was disingenuous as it did not mention US interests in drug trafficking. So I wrote to Mr Webster and expressed my feelings. He replied (printed with his permission):

I agree with you. I suspect and have all along that the reasons the war on drugs have totally failed is because people in high places are involved. I think the CIA, Contra, high level officials in America and around the world many benefit. How ever to prove it or to be able to have enough reliable sources is difficult at best. I direct you to where you can read more of my writings on the subject.

Afghanistan supplies over ninety percent of opium
02.03.08. feeds.bignewsnetwork. According to the US State Department, Afghanistan is responsible for the supply of ninety three percent of opium to world markets.

Harry's War': The ugly truth
02.03.08. L. Docherty, Independent. In September 2006, British forces attacked and occupied what was until that point a thriving agricultural town. This means that the local farmers, who are poor cash-croppers exploited by opium barons, grow a great deal of poppy. But the British arrival, as in other towns across Helmand, brought nothing but military might – no means of development, no improvement in local living standards and no alternative to the poppy. The most basic tenets of counter-insurgency were abandoned in the Army's haste to see action. Violence ensued as poppy farmers and opium traffickers teamed up with the Taliban to oppose the foreign occupiers. As the first British bombs fell, killing Afghan civilians, the battle for hearts and minds was lost. The fighting rages still and opium production has soared to new heights. Overwhelming firepower (the kind that Harry co-ordinates) cannot resolve the fact that the British campaign in Helmand is illogical; we are trying to fight our way to winning hearts and minds and losing the trust of the population in doing so.

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan mothers give children opium


US Herbicides Exact High Toll on Indigenous Populations
02.02.07. Thomas D. Williams, truthout. Despite years of ongoing, critical public health controversies in Colombia and Ecuador over the US-assisted aerial herbicide spraying of coca and poppy crops while trying to reduce illegal cocaine and heroin production, US State Department officials are pursuing that very same spraying strategy today. In fact, a couple of months ago, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's administration temporarily cast aside the latest of several State Department exhortations to begin massive herbal spraying operations on poppy crops producing heroin there. … In the meantime, untold thousands of Colombians and Ecuadorians have become sick from the blended chemical spray. Studies have shown the environmental dangers of inhalation and skin and eye saturation of the floating mist. And critically valuable maize, yucca and plantains have been destroyed in large swaths of the fertile country.

Drugs & Media Censorship

Kristina Borjesson
Into the Buzzsaw by Kristina Borjesson, who gives the accounts of 20 award-winning journalists who were prevented by corporate media ownership from reporting major news stories.

Michael Levine

Michael Levine: The expert witness
The Chang Mai "factory" that the CIA prevented me from destroying was the source of massive amounts of heroin being smuggled into the US in the bodies and body bags of GIs killed in Vietnam. Case after case was killed by CIA and State Department intervention and there wasn't a thing we could do about it….In 1980, CIA-recruited mercenaries and drug traffickers unseated Bolivia's democratically elected president. Immediately after the coup, cocaine production increased massively. Bolivia [became] the source of virtually 100% of the cocaine entering the US. This was the beginning of the crack "plague."…The CIA along with State and Justice Departments had to protect their drug-dealing assets by destroying a DEA investigation. How do I know? I was the inside source….I sat down at my desk in the American embassy and wrote evidence of my charges. I addressed it to Newsweek. Three weeks later DEA's internal security [called] to notify me that I was under investigation….The highlight of the 60 Minutes piece is when the administrator of the DEA, Federal Judge Robert Bonner, tells Mike Wallace, "There is no other way to put it, Mike, [what the CIA did] is drug smuggling. It's illegal."

Gary Webb

Gary Webb: Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
In 1996, I wrote a series of stories that began this way: For the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods gangs of LA and funneled millions in drug profits to a guerilla army run by the CIA. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America….The story was developing a momentum alll of its own, despite a virtual news blackout from the major media. Ultimately, it was public pressure that forced the national newspapers into the fray. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times published stories, but spent little time exploring the CIA's activities. Instead, my reporting and I became the focus of their scrutiny. It was remarkable [Mercury News editor] Ceppos wrote, that the four Washington Post reporters assigned to debunk the series "could not find a single significant factual error." A few months later, the Mercury News [due to intense CIA pressure] backed away from the story, publishing a long column by Ceppos apologizing for "shortcomings." The New York Times hailed Ceppos for "setting a brave new standard," and splashed his apology on their front page, the first time the series had ever been mentioned there. I quit the Mercury News not long after that….Do we have a free press today? Sure. It's free to report all the sex scandals, all the stock market news, [and] every new health fad that comes down the pike. But when it comes to the real down and dirty stuff—such stories are not even open (fl?)oor discussion.


Fifty Years Of Drug Trafficking by CIA and Other Government People

The Dark Alliance. Gary Webb's Incendiary 1996 SJ Mercury News Exposé. These articles were downloaded from the web site of the Seattle Times, since the San Jose Mercury News has removed the entire series from their web site.

5. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan

A Wider Perspective: Global Oil Struggle

* The Kremlin and the world energy war
10.01.08. W Joseph Stroupe, asia times. The global order is re-dividing into roughly two de facto blocs - one has the US at its core and the other has Russia-China at its core. Energy is the major dividing line between the two blocs, and as desperation for control of strategic energy resources increases rapidly, so will the sharpness of the dividing line between the two blocs. With energy thus serving as a primary catalyst, the resource-rich Eurasian bloc is attaining significantly more gravitational pull than the American bloc. Is the West blundering into strategic mishap, inadvertently increasing Russia's global energy importance and opening the door to an obligatory greater reliance on resource-rich Russia? What will be the outcome of ongoing developments? Empowering Russia; US hand strengthens Russia's; Kremlin strategy - opportunistic and brilliant; Global polarization.

Something Had to Give: How Oil Burst the American Bubble
31.01.08. Michael Klare, Tomgram. The economic bubble that lifted the stock market to dizzying heights was sustained as much by cheap oil as by cheap (often fraudulent) mortgages. Likewise, the collapse of the bubble was caused as much by costly (often imported) oil as by record defaults on those improvident mortgages. Oil, in fact, has played a critical, if little commented upon, role in America's current economic enfeeblement -- and it will continue to drain the economy of wealth and vigor for years to come.

U.S. loses its status as economic world power
31.01.08. Trudy Rubin, newsday / ICH. What a difference a year makes. DAVOS 2008 has laid bare a world in which no superpower seems to be in charge. The unipolar American moment is deemed over, in part a casualty of the Bush administration's political and economic policies, in larger part the result of global economic changes that are shifting wealth elsewhere.

Oil and Gas in Afghanistan & neighbouring countries

Crescent Petroleum interested in investing in IPI
30.01.08. dailytimes,

Dentist Leading Turkmenistan Solicits Foreigners for Gas, Oil
31.01.08. Bloomberg. … Given Turkmenistan's location between the energy markets of Europe and Asia, China, Iran, Russia and the U.S. are vying to build pipelines out of the country.

Iran to expand gas exports to Asia, Europe: spokesman
05.02.08. Tehran Times. The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) spokesman said the country was currently exporting gas to Turkey and planned to expand it to Pakistan, India, China, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Armenia, and Europe. … Iran’s estimated gas reserves, the world’s second-largest after Russia, amount to 971.150 TCF (more than 26 TCM). … Washington is urging countries to cut business ties with Iran in a bid to pressurize the country over its nuclear activities.

Putin thinks that the US is using the war to put down roots in Central Asia so it can control pipeline-routes from the Caspian Basin while surrounding Russia and China with military bases. Putin is right. Mike Whitney.

Iran & Russia can rid world of dollar's slavery

17.02.08. iranmania. Iran's Ambassador to Moscow said Iran and Russia, as major energy suppliers, can rid the world of US dollar's slavery by promoting oil and gas deals using different currencies, IRNA reported. Gholam-Reza Ansari further emphasized in an interview with 'Echo Moscow Radio', "We have been trying to launch an Oil Stock Market in Iran and also trying to find substitute currencies for Iran's oil sales, that can be Russia's ruble."

Tajikistan: Emomali Rakhmon expands interaction with the European Union
18.02.08. … A bridge across the Pyandzh connecting Afghanistan and Tajikistan was built with American money last year ($36 million). The United States is even suspected of charting plans to intervene in the matters of the regional power and water resources. … As far as Russian specialists are concerned, Washington uses cooperation with Tajikistan as a smoke-screen for advancement of its military-strategic positions in Central Asian and Afghanistan. Speculations on installation of an American military base in Tajikistan indirectly confirm validity of these suspicions.


Afghanistan sitting on a gold mine
21.02.08. AFP. Afghanistan is sitting on a wealth of mineral reserves -- perhaps the richest in the region -- that offer hope for a country mired in poverty after decades of war, the mining minister says. Significant deposits of copper, iron, gold, oil and gas, and coal -- as well as precious gems such as emeralds and rubies -- are largely untapped and still being mapped, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel told AFP.

6. Aid and Trade

photo AIHRC

"Persistent poverty provides the conditions for insecurity to spread. The urgent priority is to achieve a coherent approach which focuses greater efforts and resources on rural development." Matt Waldman, Oxfam


Afghanistan Humanitarian Action Update 17 Jan 2008 [pdf]
17.01.08. UNICEF. An estimated 22 million Afghans, or 70% of the population, live in poverty and substandard conditions. 40% children less than three years old are underweight and 54% of under five are stunted. Over 100,000 people - most of them children and women - remain displaced by conflict and drought.


Reconstructing Afghanistan UK Parliament. Fourth Report 14.02.08.


Presently, there are no plans to improve the lives of ordinary Afghanis or to remove the warlords. Reconstruction is at a standstill. If the US stays in Afghanistan, the situation 10 years from now will be the same as it is today, only more people will have needlessly died. Most Afghanis now understand that the promise of democracy was a lie. The only thing the occupation has brought is more grinding poverty and random violence. Mike Whitney

UN, government appeal for $80 million to avert food-insecurity
24.01.08. irinnews. The government of Afghanistan and the UN have jointly appealed for over US$80 million to assist 2.55 million Afghans who have been pushed into “high risk” food-insecurity due to a steep rise in staple food prices. … “This joint appeal is on behalf of 425,000 extremely poor Afghan families, who otherwise will be unable to meet their most basic need - that of food - especially during the current harsh winter months

AFGHANISTAN: Aid reaches winter-affected families as deaths top 500
29.01.08. Latest figures from Afghanistan’s National Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA) indicate that 503 people - mostly children and the elderly - have lost their lives due to cold weather and heavy snow since December 2007. The UN has confirmed at least 329 deaths in Herat, Badghis, Ghor and Farah provinces.

Turkmenistan to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

Germany to offer more aid to Afghanistan
31.01.08. xinhuanet. Germany would increase its aid to Afghanistan by a million euros (1.5 million dollars) largely to help the locals fight a particularly harsh winter, local reports said Wednesday.

Advocates urge NATO funds to alleviate suffering of Afghan civilians
31.01.08. Jane’s. In advance of a meeting of NATO defence ministers, human rights organisations are urging member states to provide monetary aid for civilians harmed during combat operations in Afghanistan.

NATO, Afghan troops provide medical aid to over 300 patients
31.01.08. xinhuanet. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) together with the Afghan troops have treated more than 300 people suffered from cold-related diseases in west Afghanistan, a press release issued by the alliance said on Thursday.

Cup half full, half empty in Canada's development work for Afghanistan
01.02.08. canadianpress. Millions of dollars are eaten up by corruption and mismanagement, and even successful programs do not seem to have a long-term impact, according government documents, non-governmental organizations and a former aid official. Nipa Banerjee said 50 per cent of the $300 million allocated during her three years as head of aid in Afghanistan for the Canadian International Development Agency brought little or no results.

Opinion: Afghan Peace Only Possible With More Foreign Aid
01.02.08. dw-world. The international community has poured plenty into Afghanistan with little result, but the country needs even more to attain peace, writes DW's Peter Philipp. Only then can it avoid becoming a "failed state."

Afghan gov't welcomes Norway decision to increase development assistance
05.02.08. Xinhuanet. Norway, according to the statement, has decided to contribute 140 million U.S. dollars to Afghanistan in 2008, a 50% increase on2007 according to the Norwegian media report.

Japan pledges fresh Afghan aid but warns on security
05.02.08. AFP.

Red Cross reports two workers kidnapped on Afghan-Pakistan border
05.02.08. wiredispatch.

UK aid effort in Afghanistan "dysfunctional"
06.02.08. Reuters. Britain's aid efforts in Afghanistan are failing, undermining military gains and fuelling the Taliban insurgency, a think-tank [Senlis: see above report] with long experience in the country said on Wednesday.

DFID in Helmand is dysfunctional, totally dysfunctional. Basically it should be removed and its budget should go to the army, which might be better able to deliver assistance," Norine MacDonald, Senlis's president, told Reuters.

Newly open Turkmenistan sends aid to Afghanistan
07.02.08. Reuters. An unusually cold winter has hit many parts of Central Asia this year, including Turkmenistan itself, the region's top natural gas exporter. In Afghanistan, the extreme cold has killed several hundred people and about 40,000 cattle. The government official said Turkmenistan had sent 500 tonnes of diesel fuel, 1,000 tonnes of flour and 8,000 tonnes worth of clothes to northern Afghanistan, home to a large diaspora of ethnic Turkmen.

(no date)Aid will be presented in the name of Bahrain to emphasise the country's solidarity with brothers in Gaza who labour under Israel's arbitrary and barbarian blockade and also help the Afghan people surmount the cold weather sweeping northern parts of their country, said a statement.

UN appeals for 13 million dollars to help Afghan children
12.02.08. AFP. "Afghanistan is facing a variety of natural and man-made disasters across the country," said the United Nations Children's Fund appeal for 39 countries.

Afghanistan: Donors pledge $31 million in food aid
14.02.08. adnkronos. Source IRIN - The USA, Canada and Denmark have contributed 31 million dollars to a joint UN and government appeal to provide a temporary safety net for 2.55 million vulnerable Afghans facing food-insecurity, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said. “The US has confirmed [its] contribution of 30,000 metric tonnes [mt] of wheat worth $19 million, Canada has confirmed 10.1 million dollars and Denmark has confirmed 2 million,” WFP country representative Rick Corsino told IRIN on 13 February. Australia, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) are also expected to contribute over 14 million dollars to the joint appeal in the near future, Corsino said. A dramatic increase in staple food prices and winter-related problems such as road blockages have pushed 1.41 million Afghans in rural areas and 1.14 million in urban areas into high risk food-insecurity,

Donors Accused of Letting Afghanistan Down
14.02.08. ActionAid. Aid to Afghanistan is in crisis. While international donors have been calling for greater transparency and accountability in Afghanistan, they themselves have failed to adhere to these values. In a major new report tracking aid to Afghanistan, ActionAid and Afghanistan's Economic Literacy and Budget Analysis Group say that the international community is following an inconsistent and incoherent approach to development in the country. Donors have failed to deliver money pledged for aid, distributing US$5bn less than promised between 2002 and 2006, despite finding the many hundreds of billions necessary for military operations.

Building a failed state?
14.02.08. J. Hilary, Guardian. Donor dogma is threatening the prospects of reconstruction in Afghanistan and other countries alike.

Aid operation followed due process: CIDA
16.02.08. Recent criticisms of the lack of transparency and accountability with Canada's aid operations in Afghanistan are completely unfounded, say senior officials with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Iran Sends Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan
16.02.08. The statement read that the relief aid consisted of six load-full trucks of fuel, rice, blankets and tents which were sent to the victims of cold weather.

Japan delivers aid for cold wave victims
18.02.08. onlinenews. A Japanese envoy handed over 1,400 blankets, as many mattresses and 150 plastic tents to the authorities here for victims of the heavy snowfall and the resultant cold wave.

Czechs allot hundreds of millions of crowns for humanitarian aid
19.02.08 ceskenoviny. Most of the money designed for humanitarian aid - 10.2 million crowns - went to Afghanistan where the Czech Republic financed projects aimed at ensuring drinking water sources, on the construction of schools and on the "healthy eyes" project.

Aid to Afghanistan is in crisis, says ActionAid
19.02.08. alternet. International donors are letting Afghanistan down. Whilst they have been calling for greater transparency and accountability in Afghanistan, they themselves have failed to adhere to these values. In a major new report tracking aid to Afghanistan, ActionAid and Afghanistan’s Economic Literacy and Budget Analysis Group say that the international community is following an inconsistent and incoherent approach to development in the country. Donors have failed to deliver money pledged for aid, distributing US$5bn less than promised between 2002 and 2006, despite finding the many hundreds of billions necessary for military operations.

U.N. distributes winter aid to Afghans
20.02.08. UPI. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is distributing tents, blankets, plastic sheets, sleeping mats, lanterns and soap to more than 200,000 Afghans who are returning to their homeland from exile in Pakistan and Iran. The United Nations World Food Program has already distributed nearly 2,500 tons of food to 33,000 households in several Afghan provinces, including Herat, Faryab and Jawzjan, the U.N. said in a statement.

Afghanistan Aid is the Key to Fighting Poverty
20.02.08. oecumene. British charity Action Aid says the international community is following an inconsistent and incoherent approach to development in the country.

Germany to grant 70m Euro to Afghanistan

Afghan wasteland
26.02.08. C. Foley, Guardian. The west's money for reconstruction in Afghanistan has been spent appallingly in ways that have done little to help the people. One of the least discussed aspects of the crisis in Afghanistan is the challenge that it poses to those involved in humanitarian aid and reconstruction. How can assistance best be delivered to the Afghan people and what should be the criteria governing how it is delivered?

$100 million boost pegged for aid (sic) to Afghanistan
27.02.08. thestar. One-time spending hike will go primarily toward security initiatives, such as training police, army.

Kidnapped U.S. aid worker and Afghan driver feared dead
27.02.08. Reuters. Cyd Mizell, 49, an employee of the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation (ARLDF), and her driver were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen last month while heading for work in a car in the southern city of Kandahar.

"Although we have no confirmation of their deaths, we have received information over the past few days indicating that our two aid workers have been killed," ARLDF said on its Web site.

Iran calls for increased UNHCR aid
28.02.08. Tehran has called for enhanced cooperation from the UNHCR in view of Iran's concerns about the prevailing Afghan refugee conditions.

Soaring Food Prices Putting U.S. Emergency Aid in Peril
01.03.08. Washington Post. The U.N. program is confronting similar price pressures. It announced this month that it was facing a $505 million shortfall due to soaring food and fuel costs, and would cut distribution if it did not receive new funds. … Meanwhile, need is increasing. Afghanistan, for instance, recently put in an emergency request for $77 million to cope with skyrocketing prices that have put key staples out of reach for more and more Afghans.

7. Human Rights

Photo: Abdullah Shaheen/IRIN

Landmines, UXO kill, maim hundreds in 2007
21.01.08. irinnews. Landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) killed 143 and wounded 438 people in different parts of Afghanistan in 2007, according to UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) statistics. Radio report.

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh,

Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights
31.01.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent. A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country's rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after "liberation" and under the democratic rule of the West's ally Hamid Karzai.

Afghan Senate withdraws demand for death sentence
02.02.08. Independent.

Afghanistan president will not block student death sentence
05.02.08. Jurist

Karzai 'must listen to world on death-sentence student'
11.02.08. Independent.

A Young Life Hangs in the Balance in Afghanistan's Cultural War
15.02.08. Washington Post. Death Ordered for Challenging Islam. While trolling the Internet last October, Afghan journalism student Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh came across some articles that questioned the limits of women's rights under Islam. According to Afghan prosecutors, he downloaded the articles and circulated them on campus.

Afghan student sentenced to death for blasphemy entitled to open appeal: justice
19.02.08. Jurist.

How he was sentenced to die
25.02.08. K. Sengupta, Independent. 'What they call my trial lasted just four minutes in a closed court. I was told that I was guilty and the decision was that I was going to die'

Leading article: Set Pervez free
25.02.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent.

Venue Changed For Appeal By Afghan Journalist On Death Row
27.02.08. rferl. An appeal by a journalism student sentenced to death in northern Afghanistan on blasphemy charges has been transferred to Kabul in order to ensure a fair hearing, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Afghan student facing blasphemy death sentence should be allowed appeal: judge
28.02.08. The Jurist. Afghan Deputy Chief Judge Mohammed Omar Ishaqzai said that Afghan journalism student Sayad Parwaz Kambaksh should be permitted to appeal a death sentence that resulted from a trial where he says he was not represented by a lawyer

Kandahar governor denies torture claim
02.02.08. globeandmail. Khalid says he's never interrogated or abused a prisoner in custody; Hillier says governor is doing "phenomenal work"

AFGHANISTAN: Stop sale of children, rights watchdog says
03.02.08. IRIN/uruknet. The recent sale of three Afghan girls in separate incidents by parents blaming extreme poverty for their actions has sparked concern about the safety of poor children in Afghanistan and the lack of adequate legal mechanisms to effectively curb such trade. Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission AIHRC has expressed alarm over the sale of the children, who came from Herat, Kunduz and Takhar provinces.

Afghan Journalist Jailed for Translating Koran
15.02.08. Nelofer Pazira, The Independent/alternet. Since October 2007, he [Ahmed Ghous Zalmai] has been in prison for helping to distribute translated copies of the Koran.

General Dostum

Abdul Rashid Dostum Photo AP

In the line of fire
21.02.08. C. Foley, Guardian. The plight of a journalist, contrasted with the swagger of a warlord [Dostum], says a lot about Afghanistan. … [his brother] believes that [Sayed} was targeted because of his own work exposing the power of the warlords and political factions in the north.

Ex-Afghan warlord is 'suspended
19.02.08. BBC. The Afghan attorney general says that the former warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum has been suspended from the government {which} relates to allegations that Gen Dostum kidnapped and assaulted a rival. … n 2001, while helping the United States, his militias were accused of suffocating hundreds of Taleban prisoners to death by locking them inside shipping containers*. For these alleged crimes many Afghans and human rights groups say Gen Dostum should be put on trial.
*See Video: Afghan Massacre, Convoy of Death

11 suspected Taliban militants held in Afghanistan
20.02.08. kuna. Identities of those [anti-occupation resistors] apprehended by the troops were not disclosed. However, the statement said they would be questioned as to their involvement in sabotage activities.


CTV freelancer detained at U.S. base in Afghanistan
20.02.08. globeand mail. Javed Yazamy, 22, earned the nickname Jojo while serving as a translator for the U.S. forces but spent the past two years working primarily for CTV News in Kandahar. He went missing in October when an unknown caller summoned him to Kandahar Air Field and foreign soldiers captured him in the dusty parking lot just outside the main gate. …The Red Cross helped Mr. Yazamy's family confirm he is being held in U.S. custody at Bagram airbase* in northern Afghanistan, and Reporters Without Borders called on the U.S. military to stop what it called an unjustified detention. *[Bagram prison is renowned for torture.]

Canadian TV Network Seeks Release of Afghan
21.02.08. Ian Austen, New York Times/truthout. "Our issue here is that we've been told nothing by governments or NATO," Mr. Hurst said. NATO forces are responsible for security in much of Afghanistan. "It's been four months now that we've been working quietly through back channels with absolutely no results. Now we're making an appeal: Release him or else explain why he's being detained and proceed with due process."

Rendition, Guantanamo and Torture are always covered in the Human Rights section of each ‘Index on Afghanistan’. February saw a huge amount of material on these subjects; you can read material here: Robicheaux's Nightmare: US Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture in February 2008

8. Some Afghan Deaths

“It’s a long night, General. Don’t try to get through it with apologies. They’re all right between gentlemen, but they don’t have much value for the dead.” James Lee Burke, The Neon Rain .

Marine Afghan Shooting Hearing Nears End
30.01.08. AP, see MURDER IN NANGAHAR

Roadside bombs, suicide attack in Afghanistan kill 3 civilians, wound 9 others
30.01.08. IHT. … Last year was Afghanistan's most deadly since the ouster of the Taliban in the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. More than 6,500 people — mostly insurgents — died as a result of violence, according to an Associated Press count of figures provided by local and international officials.

Recent attacks on Afghan officials
31.01.08. wiredispatch

Afghan air strike kills eight
04.02.08. Reuters. A ground and air attack killed two Taliban commanders and six civilians in southwestern Afghanistan, the provincial governor said on Monday.

Civilian killed, the other injured by NATO's warning shot in W Afghanistan
11.02.08. Xinhuanet.

US Soldiers Kill Unarmed Iraqis and Afghanis
13.02.08. R. Parry, Consortium News/truthout. By forcing repeat combat assignments to Iraq and Afghanistan - and by winking at torture and indiscriminate killings - George W. Bush is degrading the reputation of the U.S. military, turning enlisted soldiers and intelligence officers into murderers and sadists.

U.S. Soldiers Kill Unarmed Iraqis and Afghanis
16.02.08. R. Parry, consortium/uruknet. Never has Bush acknowledged that the abusive treatment of detainees -- or the killing of unarmed Iraqis and Afghanis -- are a natural result of his aggressive war strategies, nor that he is the one primarily responsible for dragging the worldwide reputation of the U.S. military and intelligence services into the gutter. … A similar case of authorized murder of an insurgent suspect surfaced at a military court hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in mid-September 2007. Two U.S. Special Forces soldiers took part in the execution of an Afghani who was a suspected leader of an insurgent group.

Mourners carry the victim of Sunday's suicide bombing for burial in Kandahar.
Photo: AP Allauddin Khan

Death toll in Kandahar suicide attack crosses 100
18.02.08. Hindustantimes / ICH. Kandahar's provincial governor said on Monday that the death toll in the country's deadliest suicide attack rose to more than 100 victims with several dozen others injured.

Taliban denies role in Afghan blast
18.02.08. The Taliban has denied any responsibility for Sunday's deadly bombing at a dog fighting competition in Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar that killed about 80 people and left many more wounded.

Attack on Canadian convoy kills at least 37 in Afghanistan
18.02.08. Guardian. The death toll in today's attack at a busy market in Spin Boldak, a town in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, was put at 37 with at least 30 injured, the Kandahar governor, Asadullah Khalid, told the AP news agency. The injured included three Canadians, he said. Another official from the area told Reuters that two foreign soldiers were among the dead…. The Taliban claimed responsibility for today's attack.

140 Afghans killed in 2 days of bombings
18.02.08. A. Khan, N. Khan, wiredispatch. Afghanistan's Deadliest Span Since Taliban Ousted in 2001

CHRONOLOGY-Bombing attacks in Afghanistan
18.02.08. Reuters. Some 11,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan in the last 18 months.

Third attack in Afghanistan's Kandahar in three days kills one
19.02.08. AFP. A police officer at the site, who gave his name as Ahmad Jan, confirmed one person was killed and said four were hurt.

Blast kills six Afghans from construction firm
23.02.08 Reuters. … More than 11,000 people, including over 350 foreign troops, have been killed since 2006 alone in Afghanistan.

Afghan woman and child killed in U.S.-led operation
24.02.08. Reuters. "A search of the site after the exchange revealed a dead female and child in one of the rooms the assailants used to engage coalition forces," it added blaming the Taliban for placing women and children in "harm's way".

The massacre at Yaka China
24.02.08. Prof. Marc W. Herold, The Afghan Victim Memorial Project/ uruknet. in the Yakha Chena (Yaka China) hamlet of the Korengal Valley in the Pech District, Kunar Province as a result of Operation Rock Avalanche (October 19-25th). After a helicopter and U.S.-led occupation force (the 503rd Parachute Regiment of the 173rd Airborne) assaulted a village area in the middle of the night (when locals are sleeping), a firefight allegedly ensued with artillery fire and air strikes. The main target of Rock Avalanche was allegedly the hamlet of Yaka China. … This aerial flotilla rocketed and bombed – the B1-B dropped two 2,000 pound bombs "above the village" – homes in Yaka China. The results were predictable: precise killing and injuring of numerous civilians. A Major Charles Anthony in Kabul, spokesperson for the NATO occupation, announced with the usual absence of supporting data that id 20 "enemy" fighters had been killed, but 11 civilians had also been wounded (and were being treated at the U.S. occupation base, Camp Wright). Anthony trotted out the usual propaganda about Taliban using civilians as human shields.

Mark Herold recently wrote me: "The civilian casualties figures cited in the mainstream (e.g., the A.P., the U.N. , etc.) are utterly bogus. Please find attached a tabulation covering up through 2007. Disaggregated data at my various data bases can be consulted to assess the validity of the aggregates. No one else does that on Afghanistan. Does anyone like the A.P. ever publish disaggregated data? No. Figures for 2008 can easily be computed from data at my website, . Countless articles of mine be read at".

6 killed in Afghan blast
26.02.08. R. FAIEZ, AP / wiredispatch. 5 Police, 1 Child Killed in Roadside Blast in Eastern Afghanistan

Al-Qaeda releases web eulogy of Afghanistan strategist
02.03.08. AP. Murder of Abu Laith.
(Fruitless video search for An Elegy to the Martyred Commander Abu Laith al-Libi, reportedly on al sahab)

Afghanistan’s ‘Miracle’ Cemetary


"To unpathed waters, undreamed shores Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.


Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the UK


Shorter url:



10. References

All the chapter headings in this Index Research are also in the following articles on Afghanistan. I first started tracking the US ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan on 26 May 2005. The first research included all PNAC involvement with Afghanistan prior to the US invasion.

Index on Afghanistan (May to August 2006)

Index on Afghanistan : September 2006

Index on Afghanistan : October 2006

Index on Afghanistan : November 2006

Index on Afghanistan : December 2006

Index on Afghanistan : January 2007

Index on Afghanistan : February 2007

Index on Afghanistan : March 2007

Index on Afghanistan: April 2007: Murder in Nangarhar

Dead in Afghanistan: May 2007

Index on Afghanistan: May 2007 Part I

Index on Afghanistan: May 2007: Part II - NATO; Human Rights

Schisms: Index on Afghanistan, August 2007

Autumn '07 in Afghanistan




Further articles on Afghanistan:

Afghanistan: Cleared of Wrongdoing

Security Companies in Afghanistan , 7 November 2007

Robicheaux's Nightmare: US Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture in February 2008

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