In Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, most people depressed, on drugs


This video is called Opium abuse among Afghan women and children.

From The News in Pakistan:

More Afghans turn to drugs

Monday, April 21, 2008

KABUL: Scarred by decades of turmoil and grief, 66 per cent of Afghans suffer from depression or some form of mental disorder, and an increasing number are turning to illegal drugs, a top health official said.

Afghan deputy health minister for technical affairs Faizullah Kakar said mental illness and drug abuse were the most urgent health problems that the country now needs to tackle.

“It’s like a bunch of very dry wood, something very little can ignite a population that’s depressed (resulting in violence). It affects many institutions, people in government, parliament,” Kakar said in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters.

“Sixty-six per cent doesn’t spare those of us who work in the government, it affects progress. Depressed people don’t like to work. The immediate problems are suicide … family violence, drug addiction,” he said over the weekend.

“Depressed people like to take drugs and they get more depressed, it’s a vicious cycle, this is what we see in Afghanistan. Drugs have mixed up with depression and we have an expansion of the number of people who are at risk.”

Afghanistan is the world’s number one producer of opium, from which heroin is derived. It had an estimated 920,000 drug addicts a few years ago. “This may be greater now,” Kakar said. With only two psychiatrists working in the state sector in a country of 26 million people, it is hard to imagine how Afghanistan can cope.

5 thoughts on “In Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, most people depressed, on drugs

  1. Aid group: Only 35 percent of Afghan students are girls

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Only 35 percent of the students in Afghanistan’s schools are girls, and while overall enrollment is increasing, the percentage of female students is not, an aid group said Monday.

    A shortage of female teachers, a number of boys-only schools and cultural barriers are factors keeping girls out of school, the group Care International said.

    The education of girls in post-Taliban Afghanistan is held as an example of success by Afghan and Western officials. During Taliban rule, which ended after a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, girls were banned from going to school, and only about 1 million boys attended classes.

    Citing data from the Education Ministry, Care said 35 percent of the 5.4 million Afghan children now enrolled in schools are girls. It is unclear what percent of all children attend school, since Afghanistan has not had a census in decades.

    Care said more than a third of the country’s 9,062 schools are exclusively for boys. It said 28 percent of Afghan teachers are female, with most working in urban areas.

    “”This inhibits girls’ participation in education, as parents are reluctant to have teenage girls being taught by a male teacher,”” Care said in a statement. “”Likewise, parents are hesitant to send their girls to schools if they are far from their homes.””

    As a result, “”despite an overall increase in numbers of enrolled children, the percentage of female students is not increasing,”” it said.

    Jamie Terzi, assistant country director for Care in Afghanistan, said Islamic teachings might persuade parents to let their girls go to school.

    “”One way to increase female enrollment is to discuss the importance of education under Islam with girls’ parents,”” she said.

    Care said community-based education projects need to focus on girls, and existing schools should be open to all students.

    “”Simple steps, such as discussions with village shuras (councils), mullahs, and parents can lead to changes in the name of a school, include a wall or an alternate schedule for boys and girls,”” Terzi said, noting that girls and boys could then go to the same school but still be taught separately in accordance with cultural practices.

    Care, in cooperation with other aid groups, is providing community-based education to 45,000 children — two-thirds of them girls — in remote areas of 17 provinces where there are no Education Ministry schools.

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  2. Deployment to hell

    GHULAM ASGHAR KHAN
    Since NATO-ISAF (Int. Security Assistance Force) took over command of the southern Afghan provinces on July 31, 2006, the British and Canadian soldiers in Helmand and Kandahar had almost been under intensified daily attacks by Taliban.. The British commanders maintain that that fighting is the fiercest since the 1950s Korean War and call it as hellfire. The so-called NATO-led security and development mission under the aegis of UN Security Council (UNSC) was established in Afghanistan on December 20, 2001 and has the strength of about 47,000 military and civilian personnel as on April 2008. Because of the seriousness of the situation, the NATO commanders have asked the member countries to send more troops as hell fuel. The ISAF has become synonymous with an International Destruction Assistance Force (IDAF) that is there to destroy Afghanistan rather than doing any reconstruction work. This is a fallacy on which NATO is working to keep the hellfire burning in Afghanistan to serve Washington’s interests. How can the Afghans take an enemy force that is killing and destroying their country as their redeemer? It is strange logic that on the one hand you are keeping the unquenchable fire burning the entire country, while on the other hand offering them solace in return for massacring their men, women and children.
    From Alexander the Great to the present day, Afghans had never been subjugated by any alien force that had devastated their land, cultural heritage and traditions. And, this time around, Afghans are not going take it lying down and would fight and fight till their common enemies are finally routed. This is the historical truth that cannot be denied by any invader. Who better than the British know that their fragile conquests and humiliating defeats at the hands of the Afghans, spread over a long period between 1830 and 1919, and that also in the hey days of British Empire. After three bloody wars the British came down to their knees. The same drama is being replayed in the new millennium, but the main role that used to be played by the King’s viceroys in India, was now assumed by Bush, the Washington-based world’s greatest villain. And in this villainous oriented tragedy the results would be the same that met the British in India; it will once again end in tragedy and the manpower and money would be a total loss.
    While US attention is focused on Al-Sadr militia uprising especially in Basra, there is a sudden surge of violence in Afghanistan. A majority of NATO allies are unwilling to deal with a situation that has no immediate remedy and is getting dangerous with every passing day. The renewed violence in Iraq and Washington’s decision to suspend further withdrawal of US troops from Iraq this summer making it harder for Pentagon to dispatch any more troops to Afghanistan as was earlier promised by Bush. A posse of 3,500 Marines arrived recently in the volatile south, but they’re due to leave at year’s end. Currently there are indications that the militants have invoked a new strategy of avoiding direct confrontation with the NATO forces and staging attacks on comparatively easy targets like Aid Agencies and poorly trained Afghan police where they have achieved phenomenal success.
    According to US intelligence sources, last year saw the worst bloodshed in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban regime and drove bin-Laden and his Al-Qaeda militants into Pakistan’s remote tribal region, where they allegedly re-established bases and were training terrorists and plotting renewed attacks on the US-led NATO forces. With Afghan presidential election on the anvil next year, there is an increased pressure on the US and NATO to contain the insurgency so that the UN could proceed with the complex balloting preparations. The future of US puppet Karzai is threatened, because the Taliban and other opposing forces are planning to launch a forceful presidential contender in the forthcoming election. The situation would be much more difficult for the occupation forces to manage polls in Karzai’s favour.
    The ISAF was initially charged with security of Kabul and surrounding areas from Taliban and factional warlords, so as to facilitate the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Government headed by Karzai. The ISAF subsequent to UN Security Resolution of October 2003, extended its jurisdiction all over Afghanistan in four main stages, and since 2006, it has been involved in more intensive combat operations in southern Afghanistan. As a consequence to the expansion the attacks on the ISAF have multiplied.
    Despite all these measures taken by the US-led forces, 24 ISAF soldiers have been killed during the four months of this year, mostly in the south. The Taliban now claim to have influence across most of the country and have extended their area of control from their traditional heartland in the south. According to a BBC camera report they are able to freely operate even in Kabul’s neighbouring province of Wardak. But if anything, the battle for Afghanistan is harder now than it was after the Taliban were banished from Afghanistan. The question is; can Bush conquer Afghanistan? The Afghan history has the answer; no, never.

    http://www.nation.com.pk/daily/Apr-2008/23/columns5.php

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  3. Pingback: More Afghan opium than ever | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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