Friday, May 23, 2003
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AFGHANISTAN UPDATE: Last month I
AFGHANISTAN UPDATE: Last month I was very pessimistic about the situation in Afghanistan.
This month, Steve Verdon argues that U.S. efforts to create a semblance of an infrastructure in Afghanistan are being overlooked by the media. He's got a point. This Baltimore Sun story, for example, has the headline, "IN KANDAHAR, SLOW PROGRESS," while containing the following graf:
If you read the story, it's clear that most of the city's problems date back decades. Efforts to create a national police force, rebuild roads, help malnourished children, and voter registration are proceeding apace. India and Afghanistan just signed a preferential trading agreement.
However, the key political problem remains the lack of central authority and persistence of low-level violence. On this front, one can point to limited progress. This week, for example, local governors pledged to transfer more tax and customs revenue to the central government of Hamid Karzai. And the Washington Post reports that Karzai has relieved Aburrashid Dostum, one of the most opportunistic warlords in Afghanistan, from his regional post.
However, several grains of salt are in order. As the Economist notes:
And the Post story notes the following on Dostum:
There are also reports that Al Qaeda is reconstituting itself in Afghanistan.
To sum up: progress slow, security still a problem.
Developing....posted by Dan on 05.23.03 at 10:29 AM