Tag Archives: Holbrooke

Iran Makes Move To Cooperate On Afghanistan

During the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Iranian government cooperated and provided intelligence information. At that point, there was a real opportunity to end old disputes and reach a common accord since Iran disliked the Taliban government in Afghanistan. George Bush rebuffed Iranian efforts at reconciliation, but the Obama administration is making concerted effort to establish relations with Iran. Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Afghanistan chatted with Iranian delegate, Mohammad Mehdi Akhundzadeh at an international conference in The Hague. Akhundzadeh announced: “Welcoming the proposal for joint co-operation offered by countries contributing to Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to participate in the projects aimed at combating drug trafficking and p lans in line with developing and reconstructing Afghanistan.”

Iran is being hit with drugs entering their nation and impacting youth. They also have scant love for the Taliban and would prefer a stable government to its north. The window is open to join together and deal with the drug issue. After that, it will be possible to explore other ventures for cooperation. A first step might be small, but it is a step away from Bush policies which alienated Iran.

Another Afghanistan Strategy Session

The war in Afghanistan is fast approaching its eighth anniversary with the situation becoming worse rather than better. Eight years ago, President Bush announced the United States was going to wipe out the Taliban and restore peace and democracy to Afghanistan. Richard Holbrooke, the President’s special envoy to Afghanistan is meeting with NATO officials before briefing the ambassadors from 26 nations which have sent aid or troops to Afghanistan. There are rumors of a possible “new” approach which raises the question as to how many new approaches are necessary before something actually works? Obama has admitted the US and its allies are not winning in Afghanistan and insurgent violence is rising. But, isn’t step one in developing any strategy to clearly define what is meant in Afghanistan by “winning?”

President Obama has dispatched 17,000 troops BEFORE a plan is developed. The question is not whether more troops are needed in Afghanistan, but is there a plan which requires 17,000 more troops or 100,000 more troops? Holbrooke now condemns Bush for failing to send more troops and more resources. Has anyone figured out if the problem is “more?”

Step one is developing a plan of action and dealing with the inept and corrupt Afghan leadership. Step two is implementing the plan. For some reason, Obama is jumping to Step two before Step one.

US Anti-Opium Afghan Program A Colossal Waste!

Richard Holbrooke, a special representative sent by President Obama to survey the situation in Afghanistan has come to a conclusion sensible people have been saying for years — the current American eradication of heroin program is a bust. The United States has been spending about $800 million each year on counter narcotics, but according to Holbrooke, “we’ve got nothing out of it. Nothing. It’s the most wasteful and ineffective program I have seen in 40 years in and out of government.” Gee, is this a surprise, given that many have urged abandonment of the effort and rethinking of our anti-drug laws. He concludes that all the anti-heroin program does is get people angry at the United States, “and by forced eradication we’ve all been pushing farmers into Taliban hands.”

How about a more sensible program and this will not require extensive study or spending any money on consultants? The United States government should purchase the entire Afghanistan poppy crop, this will please farmers, and take money out of the hands of the Taliban. Of course, it is time to rethink the entire American approach to prohibition of drugs, but that would require a brave leader who is willing to tell Americans the truth– our anti-drug program has done more to spread crime than any prior program in human history.