Warlords, Drugs and Votes; Drugs Have Become the Dominating Feature of Afghanistan's Economy, and Corruption Has Infected Every Aspect of Afghan Political Life

Newsweek, August 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

Warlords, Drugs and Votes; Drugs Have Become the Dominating Feature of Afghanistan's Economy, and Corruption Has Infected Every Aspect of Afghan Political Life


Byline: Fareed Zakaria (Write the author at comments@fareedzakaria.com.)

Political junkies are betting these days as to how certain events would affect the election, like a terror attack or a major crisis in Iraq. To these I would add one that is almost certain to take place: the October election in Afghanistan. How that vote takes place--with chaos and violence or order and celebration--will have a significant effect on President Bush's electoral fortunes. Here, as in Iraq, he must now wish he had listened to wiser voices sooner.

After the United States won its spectacular victory against the Taliban in December 2001, it assured the world that it was committed to intensive efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. But policy on the ground was largely controlled by the Defense Department, whose civilian leaders rejected nation-building. They saw the mission in Afghanistan as narrowly military--fighting the Taliban--and perhaps wanted to move troops out of Afghanistan to prepare for an invasion of Iraq. During 2002 the United States would not extend the reach of the international security force outside Kabul, was wary of asking NATO to get involved, provided little funding for reconstruction and, most crucially, refused to help in the demobilization of the Afghan militias.

These decisions had two effects: the first was to embolden Afghanistan's warlords and tighten their grip on power. In the aftermath of the war, their powers could have been defined so as to allow a central government to develop basic elements of national life, such as the rule of law, a national economy and a set of political institutions. Instead, the United States had a laissez-faire policy. The warlords were the only ones other than the United States with military power on the ground. They noticed the development of a political vacuum, expanded their powers and broadened their reach.

The second, related effect of America's tunnel vision was that the drug trade began booming. Afghanistan now supplies 75 percent of the world's opium. The warlords saw a ready source of revenue, outside the reach of Kabul, and encouraged the trade. Drugs are now the dominant feature of Afghanistan's economy, half as big as the legal economy. Worse, the trade is now moving from opium to heroin, which means that it's connected with international cartels, crime and big money. The amounts of cash involved dwarf government revenues, and corruption has infected every aspect of Afghan political life.

The Defense Department's aversion to any political role in Afghanistan was criticized--by President Karzai and his allies (quietly), the State Department, U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Warlords, Drugs and Votes; Drugs Have Become the Dominating Feature of Afghanistan's Economy, and Corruption Has Infected Every Aspect of Afghan Political Life
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.