Time to look again at Afghanistan goals

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I believe that it is time for America to reexamine its commitment to the war in Afghanistan. In the past I fully supported this country’s efforts to drive the Taliban and al-Qaida out of Afghanistan.

The question that must be asked is, what are our long-term goals in Afghanistan, and are they obtainable? It now appears that we are now focusing on nation building. If that is the case, our government needs to make a long-term commitment to Afghan people. With the current administration’s goal of beginning to remove troops in 2011 the Taliban and al-Qaida know that they just have to hunker down and wait us out. The Muslim extremists are very patient. They firmly believe that their form of radical religion will over the next hundred years rule the world. This is a war for the souls of mankind.

The Afghan government and its people fully realize that as soon as the good old USA pulls out, the Taliban will gradually re-establish control. We are dealing with a government in Afghanistan that is very corrupt, and apparently our government does not have the backbone to require political reform as a condition for long-term foreign aid.

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Our government has made only token efforts at disrupting the primary Afghan export, heroin. The vast majority of the poppies grown for world heroin trade come from Afghanistan. Looking at the big picture, it would it not much be cheaper to pay the Afghan farmers to grow some other crop.

The Afghan farmer sells the Black Tar Heroin produced in their poppy fields to the Afghan drug cartels run by the Taliban, who use the millions in profits from sale of drugs to buy arms to kill more American boys, and establish more Taliban schools for the boys who will become the next generation of terrorists. It is a vicious cycle that will continue as long as the Afghan farmer can earn more by growing poppies than food crops. The safety of our troops and future of the youth of the world will depend on our ability to disrupt the Afghan heroin trade. Mexico is learning painfully that a government cannot co-exist with drug cartels.

If the Afghan government is not willing to work with us to eliminate the world wide heroin trade, than perhaps we need to rethink our goals. Unless we totally disrupt the Afghan heroin trade we are simply pouring money and blood down a rat hole. It is not possible to build a stable government when a countries economy is based on illicit drugs.

Don Sorensen

Albert Lea