It’s let’s talk about Afghanistan day…
The London School of Economics has issued a report claim that not only is the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI supporting the Taliban, which everyone knew anyway, but that it is in fact official government policy.
Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency not only funds and trains Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, but also maintains its own representation on the insurgency’s leadership council, claims a new report issued by the London School of Economics.
Assertions that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, continues to nurture links with the Afghan Taliban are not new. But the scope of that relationship claimed by the report’s author, Matt Waldman, is startling and could prove damaging to the fragile alliance Washington is trying to foster with Pakistan, its military establishment, and its weak civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari.
It has always been known that the ISI has supported the Taliban, in fact the helped set it up back in the 90’s, but it was assumed it was going a little rogue in doing so. This puts a whole new spin on things.
Huge mineral deposits have been found in Afghanistan. This may put a whole new face on the war, and the peace process. Afghanistan now has something people want, besides Heroin that is, so economic aid and development dollars may be a little more forthcoming. If that leads to a decrease in heroin production as Afghanis are hired to work in the mining industry then that cuts into Taliban funding and power. Also, you can be sure the mining companies will buy off every Talibani they can to keep things quiet. Others disagree –
Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.
The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government also could be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Afghanistan’s minister of mines last year was accused by U.S. officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has been replaced.
Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it never has faced a serious challenge.
At the same time, U.S. officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar province, China clearly wants more, U.S. officials said.
Congressman attacks student – The tape seems straightforward and it seems that the congressman should be charged with assault, and possibly false arrest/unlawful detainment, but I am sure he will weasel out.
For the record, I have a problem with the way the students approached the congressman, they didn’t identify themselves, got pretty close with the camera, and were obviously trying to provoke something. That doesn’t give the congressman the right to respond the way he did. If you are elected to office you have to be prepared to be questioned by obnoxious people on public streets.