Afghanistan: April 27, 2002


The first poppy crop of the year is about to be harvested. This will make anti-terrorism operations more difficult, as the drug gangs will be moving drugs and money across the country. Anyone who tries to interfere with these operations will get shot at. Al Qaeda and Taliban groups moving will look just like the drug gangsters. The government can make deals with the drug gangs, which will make it easier to find and catch al Qaeda, but this will not be popular back home.

Afghan warlord Dostum, who controls most of northern Afghanistan, has released several hundred of the Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners held since last November. Dostum has not had the money to feed the prisoners, so the UN has taken responsibility for that. The prisoners released are generally older Pakistanis. US intelligence agents have already gone through the prisoners and taken the most likely terrorist suspects. But most of the remainder are pro-Taliban and a potential threat to the current groups ruling Afghanistan.


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