Karzai, Drugs and Russia


Shinwar District lies on the main road between...

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No one admits that his buttermilk is sour. Likewise, Karzai has chosen to maintain silence over the drug trafficking in his country. Karzai seems to be at peace with the ongoing corruption that he has turned a deaf ear to the cries of U.S and allies regarding the extreme level of corruption in Afghanistan under his leadership.

Russian forces had been defeated by U.S backed Afghan forces in 1989. But to fight the drug war, Russia has joined forces with U.S.A and Afghan anti-narcotics agents in eradicating drug laboratories based in Afghanistan. Four opium refining laboratories and 1,000 kilograms worth $250 million high-quality heroin and opium was destroyed in Zerasari village of Achin district, in Nangarhar province near the Pakistani border.

Initially, Afghan President Hamid Karzai‘s office issued a harshly worded statement claiming that the drug raid was unsanctioned and unauthorized by the Afghan government. Describing his government as “committed to joint efforts with [the] international community against narcotics”, the statement condemned the the raid as a “blatant violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty.”

But Karzai has decided to eradicate terrorism with the help of U.S.A, Russia and its allies.

Earlier, Russia accused the Afghan government for not taking any action against the ongoing drug networking which had been affecting Russians of whom around 30,000 had died of heroin addiction. Russia found it quite incomprehensible when Karzai lashed out despite the Afghan Interior Ministry’s Counter-Narcotics Police Sensitive Investigative Unit and the National Interdiction Unit’s participation in the raid. It also stressed on the Karzai Government’s agreement with the alliance, that they would take control of the narcotics trafficking, middlemen and human trafficking, whose profits funded insurgent groups in Afghanistan to buy guns, bombs and weapons of mass destruction. Narcotics is trafficked from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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Ties between Russia and Afghanistan have been improving after 21 years of strained relationship owing to Soviet Union’s invasion in 1979. Afghanistan has faced civil wars since the late1970s. Afghanistan faced foreign invasion from Soviet Union in 1979 when Afghanistan sought help from Soviet troops to provide security and to assist in the fight against the mujahideen rebels. Though still many Afghans consider Russians as enemies. Russia plans to improve relations with Afghanistan and assist international forces in pursuing the anti-drug war.

In 2007 alone Afghanistan had grown nine thousand tons of opium. Also Afghanistan has become a dangerous narcotics trafficking zone. Many European countries are looking forward to help Afghanistan resolve the trafficking issue because with the increase in opium production in Afghanistan, it is increasingly leading to death and destructive behaviour among the youth across Europe. The NATO allies have been strategizing to rebuild and bring stability in Afghanistan to halt the money that comes from the illegal marketing of drugs.

Russian General Craddock said profit from the narcotics trade “buys the bomb makers and the bombs, the bullets and the trigger-pullers that are killing our soldiers and marines and airmen, and we have to stop them.”

According to Transparency International, Afghanistan is 179th in the corruption index out of 180 in the world. Every government service is available for a bribe. There is no genuine institution to hold the government accountable.

According to the UN World Drug Report 2010, Afghanistan has produced 90 per cent of the world’s illicit opium in recent years. A lot of that has come from the province in which Australian troops are stationed.

There have been reports that Karzai’s family is one of the biggest drug dealers in Afghanistan, though Karzai’s family has denied any kind of involvement in it.

Afghanistan is still mired in controversies and allegations of corruption but it seems Russia, through its first ever joint mission with U.S.A, is trying to provide salvation and make peace with the war-wrecked country in its efforts to build bridges, and wanting to fill up the vacuum that is in the making after U.S.A’s decision of withdrawing its troops from the land-locked nation.

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Arianna: The Elegant Icon and Blood Bank of Web Universe


Arianna Huffington

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In an age when the webworld is a havenous source of entertainment and news for today’s laidback generation, The Huffington Post is invariably a frabjuous choice for sumptuous entertainment and news coverage. It has become the mecca for bloggers and readers with 9 million hits every month. Only five years after its launch, The Huffington Post is rivaling and challenging established newsmedia titans, The New York Times and The Washington Post in terms of popularity online.

The Huffington Post is a liberal/progressive American news website and content aggregating blog founded jointly by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti. Huff Po has erudite commentary and blog posts by some of the country’s brightest stars in the world like Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, John Cussack, Bill Gates and political commentators like Barack Obama. Thanks to the influence, contacts and marketing prowess of Editor-in-Chief and charismatic namesake, Arianna Huffington. As Time magazine once described, “Arianna Huffington seems to have come up with the first truly successful business model for blogs: most of the site’s hundreds of guest bloggers write for free.”


Former wife of Michael Huffington, Arianna Huffington, has authored 13 books. She has used her powers of conviction and assertion to become one of the most influential political commentators of the late 20th and early 21st century. In 2010, she was Forbes 29th Most Influential Woman in the World. In 2009, Arianna was number 12 in Forbes’s first ever list of the Most Influential Women in Media. She also moved up to number 42 in the Guardian’s Top 100 in Media List. Arianna was born Arianna Stassinopoulous in Athens, Greece, the daughter of journalist Konstantinos. She speaks with a marked Greek accent.

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Arianna has a gift to connect with people, and she uses Huffington Post as a platform to bring in voices: some well known, some unknown. She keeps coming up with ideas to highlight exceptional individuals confronting crises with generosity and passion in her latest segment Greatest Person of the day. During the 2008 campaign, a report by one of Huff Po’s citizen journalists, Mayhill Fowler, on Barack Obama’s remarks on blue-collar voters at a San Francisco fundraiser, derailed the campaign for a while, showing how much a citizen journalist could influence a national election. She believes citizen journalists are focussed relentlessly on drawing attention to stories until they cannot be ignored and overlooked by mainstream media.

With all the success, Arianna has also drawn flak as she seeks free submissions from citizen journalists rather than hiring laid off journalists with actual experience and not paying her site’s bloggers. Her Huff Po has also been criticised for allowing her celebrity friends to get away after publishing nonsense and was compared to PerezHilton’s sleazy gossip website.


Despite the flak, Arianna is not unnerved and her Huff Po continues to dominate the web universe, as she inspires a new group of writers, to share their voices across the world, championing causes of the unheard, oppressed. Often seen as a tribune of the people, an A-list populist who promotes citizen journalism, she has been working hard to create a sustainable business model of journalism, saving investigative journalism from inevitable change and business reality. While other news media outlets are struggling to keep readers, the audience for  Arianna Huffington’s popular newsblog keeps growing. The Huffington Post is touted as the future of News Media and the credit goes to the Patron Saint of New Media: Arianna Huffington. The blogging Revivalist has tested the waters of the web and plans to open new avenues by conquering the web universe.

Also Credited As: Arianna Huffington Stassinopoulos, Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington

Her Books:

http://ariannaonline.huffingtonpost.com/books/fools/index.php

Karzai, Cash and Iran


Hamid Karzai with U.S. Special Forces during O...

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According to an Afghan proverb, A little water is sea to an ant but no amount of money is enough for the Karzai government after the ravage and destruction Afghanistan has undergone financially, culturally, and socially since 2001. Despite U.S.A’s billion dollar funding to Karzai’s government, it seems for this ant (read Karzai’s government) nothing is enough.

Cannot blame Karzai because Afghanistan despite the funds it gets is still resurrecting itself, from the poverty it has faced for having continuously faced civil wars since 1970. Afghanistan even had foreign invasions from Soviet Union in 1979 and U.S.A in 2001 that successfully overthrew the Taliban government. The United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security and assist the Karzai administration.  The country is being rebuilt slowly with the support from the international community while dealing with the Taliban insurgency.

In a latest, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai ‘s acceptance of taking monetary help from Iran has grabbed headlines especially in the U.S.A. Iran’s proximity with Karzai government has  become a serious matter of concern for U.S.A. As it is afraid Iran might be ploying around to weaken U.S power in Afghanistan and influence the Karzai government. Iran regards the presence of United States and other NATO forces on its eastern borders as a direct challenge to its security as well as a hedge against Tehran’s ambitions both in Afghanistan and potentially in Central Asia.

“The government of Iran assists (my) office with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice a year, which is official aid,” Karzai told reporters at a joint news conference in Kabul with visiting Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon.

Karzai also maintained to having recieved funds from the U.S around $ 1 million twice every year and also claimed he had started to recieve the funds from Iran during President Bush’s administration under his knowledge revealing that the money was legitimate and was used for covering palace and government costs on salaries.

Iran acknowledged donating monetary assistance for the upliftment of the war ravaged economy of neighbouring state Afghanistan.

The comments came after The New York Times reported that Karzai’s chief of staff, Omar Dawoodzai, received bagfuls of money, possibly as much as $6m in a single payment, sent by neighbour Iran in a bid to secure influence.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast during his regular briefing in Tehran said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a neighbouring government is deeply concerned about Afghanistan’s stability, and has given much assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.”

US state department spokesman, PJ Crowley said Washington did not question Iran’s right to provide aid to Afghanistan but that it was sceptical of Tehran’s motives “given its history of playing a destabilising role with its neighbours”.

Well there is concern in U.S circle, ‘What is Iran getting in the bargain. Is this Karzai’s Faustian bargain?’ ‘Does the cash of bags buy Karzai’s loyalty or is it a sincere effort to bring peace, security in the war ravaged destabilised Afghanistan?’ or ‘Is it a move to challenge U.S.A?’

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Karzai’s revelation of accepting funds from Iran reveals the corruption and weakness of his government which is visibly dependent on other nations for aid and is ready to be bought off by the highest bidder.

What is disturbing is Iran’s denial earlier. Perhaps Iran does not want the world to know its secret influence on Afghanistan’s internal affairs. Iran’s policy towards Afghanistan is complex and is strategically linked to its competition with U.S.A both in Afghanistan and other Islamic powers across the world.

When U.S.A threw Taliban away from Kabul in 2001, U.S had no idea that it unwittingly had made ways for the Iranian government to get a solid foothold in Afghanistan. Because by throwing the Talibans away U.S.A helped Iran get rid of its nemesis and in the process empowered the Northern Alliance, a non-Pashtun alliance that Iran had fully supported during the Taliban’s rule. When U.S chose Karzai, Iran solemnly stood by U.S.A’ s choice of candidate to lead the interim government by withdrawing support from its choice of candidate to lead the interim government.

But since 2001, Iran has gained influence in Afghanistan especially in its prosperous and stable region Herat.

Karzai, though an U.S. ally, needs Iran to stabilize Afghanistan. He recognizes the power of Iran to get rid of internal chaos in Afghanistan, yet its believed he also seeks to give an impression that he is an independent Afghan nationalist who has friendly relations with an American foe. If reports are to be believed then the Afghan leader has been playing the U.S and Iran cards against each other to garner more aid from both Washington and Tehran.

 

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Karzai has been in the hot seat for playing the damsel in distress. Which could be a strategic gameplan. He has chosen to be pally with U.S.A’s foe Iran which is his neighbouring state. And what is interesting is Karzai’s image of a weak political puppet of the U.S.A, until the latest disclosure where his loyalty has been questioned. We have to wait and watch  if he has plans of playing the messiah for Afghanistan’s betterment by using his brains alone, or continue to play puppetry under U.S  or could it be Iran, or become the ant for whom no amount of drop of water can make up for a sea.


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