Afghanistan: December 31, 2001


The Afghan government and a British general have signed an agreement governing the use of peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan. Among other things, the peacekeepers won't be able to drink alcohol or fornicate. It will be a hardship post for the troops. More peacekeepers arrive, by air, daily. The final size of the force will be 3-4,000 troops and will be called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The force does not include American troops, or special forces from other nations, which already number over 3,000 men.

Famine has been averted, for the moment, by a massive movement of food into Afghanistan in the last 30 days. Some 90,000 tons of food were trucked in during December. There are still problems getting the food to remote areas most in need. Roads in many of these areas are still dangerous because of bandits and Taliban troops looking for a meal. The government and warlords have set up roadblocks at either end of roads they control. Travelers are warned when they are moving down a road that is not safe. And a lot of roads are not safe. 

Intelligence information indicates that Osama bin Laden is still alive, but it is not known exactly where he is. Bin Laden is believed to be hiding with Islamic radicals in Pakistan, but there is no precise information. One of the reasons for rounding up and interrogating al Qaeda members is to collect bits of information that might reveal bin Laden's hiding place. 


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