While many minds have been focused on the terrible aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, folks may be forgiven for not keeping an eye on our continuing involvement in Afghanistan. Well, we’re still there, and a recent UN report on the country’s economy makes dispiriting reading.
Because the report reveals that the second largest income generator in Afghanistan, at 2.5 billion US Dollars, is corruption: bribes and kickbacks. It comes hot on the heels of the largest income generator, yielding 2.8 billion dollars, which is the opium trade. And, as I noted a while ago, Hamid Karzai’s immediate family seem to be intimately involved in both.
Which begs the question once more, as I discussed back in September last: what are we doing there? The need for the UK (and many other countries) to maintain a military presence to such little obvious effect, over time, appears minimal.