Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Via Cursor, two updates on Mr. Bush's first, now almost forgotten foray into nation-building. First, an article from the Pak Tribune that quotes Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban and Jihad:
Rashid begins by counting the total number of deaths in the conflict in Afghanistan since the Taliban was forced from power in December 2001 and comments, "the continuing violence in Afghanistan has raised serious doubts whether the first free elections planned for September can be held on time."Second is a stomach-turner from the Independent which describes how Afghan children are being kidnapped -- for their internal organs.
"Aside from the violence," says Rashid, "the factors working against smooth Afghan elections in September are many." They include strong opposition in Afghanistan to the newly drafted election law, low voter registration, and powerful warlords who are not willing to give up their regional and private militias. Moreover, notes Rashid, opium trafficking is thriving, and there are not enough international resources to fight terrorism and narco-criminals.
"Despite these challenges," states Rashid, "the Bush administration is desperately keen that Afghan elections take place in September." Successful elections, alludes Rashid, would help hide the fact that the coalition troops have failed to end terrorism and find Usama bin Laden. Disarmament, too, "is floundering badly," reports Rashid.