This video from the USA is called The Post-9/11 Afghan Heroin Explosion.
From The Nation daily in Pakistan:
Reports link Karzai’s brother to heroin trade
When Afghan security forces found an enormous cache of heroin hidden beneath concrete blocks in a tractor-trailer outside Kandahar in 2004, the local Afghan commander quickly impounded the truck and notified his boss.
Before long, the commander, Habibullah Jan, received a telephone call from Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai, asking him to release the vehicle and the drugs, Mr. Jan later told American investigators, according to notes from the debriefing obtained by The New York Times. He said he complied after getting a phone call from an aide to President Karzai directing him to release the truck.
Two years later, American and Afghan counternarcotics forces stopped another truck, this time near Kabul, finding more than 110 pounds of heroin. Soon after the seizure, US investigators told other American officials that they had discovered links between the drug shipment and a bodyguard believed to be an intermediary for Ahmed Wali Karzai, according to a participant in the briefing.
The assertions about the involvement of the president’s brother in the incidents were never investigated, according to American and Afghan officials, even though allegations that he has benefited from narcotics trafficking have circulated widely in Afghanistan.
See also here.
British army knew about minefield that killed Afghanistan soldier: here.
US, NATO attacks killed 3,200 Afghan civilians since 2005: study
October 7, 2008, 8:18 pm
Afghans prepare graves for 76 civilians killed by a US airstrike on Herat province in August 2008.
University of New Hampshire professor Marc W. Herold says up to 3,200 civilians have been killed in NATO and US action in Afghanistan since 2005. The research also suggests that compensation payouts have been far lower than in other global cases. AFP © [Enlarge photo]
KABUL (AFP) – Up to 3,200 civilians have been killed in NATO and US action in Afghanistan since 2005 but compensation payouts have been far lower than in other global cases, according to research by a US professor.
The use of air power is growing, raising risks for civilians, University of New Hampshire professor Marc W. Herold says in research released on the anniversary of the October 7, 2001 launch of the invasion of Afghanistan.
International troops arrived to topple the Taliban and have remained to fight an insurgency in which civilians are killed in military action and attacks, although the government and militaries involved do not release numbers.
Herold says other groups tracking the civilian cost of the war, such as Human Rights Watch, underestimate the tolls while international military and media attach low value to Afghan life in the accounting of events.
Herold, who runs the Afghan Victim Memorial Project, says his research shows between 2,699 and 3,273 civilians were killed in direct action by international forces in Afghanistan from 2005 to so far this year.
His figures, which he says are also underestimates because civilians are sometimes labelled militants by the military and unknown numbers of injured dying, are based on media and nongovernment organisation reports and other research.
“By relying upon aerial close air support attacks, US/NATO forces spare their pilots and ground troops but kill lots of innocent Afghan civilians.
“Air strikes are 4-10 times as deadly for Afghan civilians as are ground attacks,” he says.
Herold says the US military gives families of its victims at most 2,500 dollars as a condolence payment — not “compensation” which would admit wrong-doing.
Canadian per person condolence payments to Afghans since 2006 range from 1,100-9,000 dollars, he says.
This compares to 1.85 million paid for victims of the 1988 bombing of a flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, and 150,000 dollars per victim of a 1999 US bombing on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade that killed three Chinese and wounded 23 other people.
THE AFGHAN MISSION: A $20.7-BILLION TAB?
October 9, 2008
OTTAWA — Ottawa – The real cost of the Afghan war will reach $20.7-billion before Canadian troops leave in 2011, according to an Ottawa-based foreign affairs organization, the Rideau Institute.
That tally includes not only the direct costs of deploying Canadian soldiers and equipment to Afghanistan, but the broader costs of health care, disability payments and the salaries of soldiers.
The left-leaning group’s estimate was released on the eve of a formal reporting on the cost of the mission to be issued by Canada’s new parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page – a report that could throw an unexpected twist into the election campaign.
If Mr. Page finds the cost of the mission is significantly higher than the $8.1-billion so far identified in government estimates, it is likely to fuel charges that the mission is too expensive, and that Canadians have been kept in the dark about the true price tag.
The Globe and Mail
New Democrat MP Paul Dewar, who pressed for an accounting of the war cost, said the issue of multibillion-dollar spending is even more relevant in today’s climate of economic uncertainty, when Canadians will be especially concerned about how their tax dollars are spent.
Mr. Page is also expected to take a broad approach to the accounting, including estimates for the costs of health care for soldiers and veterans benefits, for example.
His report was expected to be delayed until after the Oct. 14 election, but opposition pressure during the campaign caused Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to agree to the release before the vote.
The Rideau Institute’s study also estimates there will be additional losses to the Canadian economy of $7.6-billion from the deaths and disabilities of Canadian soldiers. That, in the estimate of the institute, would bring the total cost of the Afghan war to 2011 to $28-billion.
Afghan president’s brother denies drugs link
Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:10am EDT
By Peter Graff
KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s half-brother denied a report on Thursday that British forces had seized tons of opium on his land last month, saying it was aimed at hurting the president a week before an election.
The German magazine Stern reported British special forces found several tons of opium in Kandahar province on land belonging to Ahmad Wali Karzai, who is head of the provincial council as well as the president’s half-brother.
“This is the time of the election. They are just doing this to hurt the president, that’s all,” Ahmad Wali Karzai told Reuters by telephone.
Asked who he blamed for trying to discredit his brother he said: “I don’t know. Whoever wrote this.”
The president has long been dogged by accusations that members of his powerful family are involved in the drugs trade. He has repeatedly said he has seen no proof.
A British embassy spokeswoman said of the reported seizure: “We don’t comment on operations.”
Afghanistan produces some 90 percent of the global supply of opium used to make heroin, and the Karzai family’s native Kandahar is one of the main opium-producing provinces.
The Karzai brothers’ father was chief of a large landholding clan in the province, which was also the birthplace of the Taliban and remains one of the strongholds of the insurgency. U.S. officials say the drug trade helps fund the fighters.
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