20th February 11:38
GUNPOWDER WILL SMELL, POPPIES WILL BLOOM
Gunpowder will smell, poppies will bloom
By Dmitri Kosyrev
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Let us assume that, in spite of the almost daily effort
of the Taliban fighters and the local warlords, Hamid
Karzai wins the presidential election in Afghanistan when
the results would be declared by the end of this week.
Next comes the bad, and very necessary, question: So
So nothing. We all know that regardless of the outcome of
the October 9 elections, poppy fields will bloom next
spring, Taliban jihadis in the south-east of the country
will flourish and warlords will rule - with, granted,
some minor progress on all the above mentioned problems.
The fact that the country has completed all the necessary
democratic rituals does not mean it is a safe and normal
country. It's still the same Afghanistan - unruly and
dangerous habitat of 28 million very poor people, maybe
one among the poorest in the world. The failure to
improve the general standard of living since the ousting
of the Taliban in December 2001 is evident in spite of
some minor changes.
It is not that electing its president for the first time
in the country's history is bad for Afghanistan. On the
contrary, the unusual enthusiasm of the voters shows that
Afghans do want to have a stable central government. And,
according to the polls that were conducted there, they do
want the power of the local warlords to be curbed, 88 per
cent nationwide and 93 per cent in Kandahar, according to
a survey conducted by the Human Rights Research and
Advocacy Consortium in June and July, 2004.
The problem is somewhat different. Afghanistan is among
the few nations in need of real and continuing support of
the world community. And all too often the only thing
that the community is capable of offering is elections! A
list of countries willing to part with its taxpayers'
money to finance the creation of the electoral
infrastructure in Afghanistan is very impressive.
But it seems that the world community - meaning, mainly
the US or Europe - have only one medicine for all the
political ailments of all the nations: Democracy in
general and elections in particular. And when this
medicine is spent without apparent success, the doctor is
at a loss what to do next.
Remember that in the winter of 2001-2002 when the
Americans were fighting the Taliban in the south-east of
the country and the Northern Alliance was securing Kabul
from the north, there were two major international
gatherings pondering what to do with Afghanistan when the
fighting gets over.
One, in Tokyo, was making estimates on how much would it
take to transform Afghanistan into a livable place (the
initial spendings were to be at least $25 billion, but
more likely $ 40 billion). Another, in Bonn, has offered
a plan of political reforms. The result: The Bonn agenda
has now been brilliantly successful, from the formation
of the Loya Jirga to the present presidential elections.
But as for all the rest, not much money is coming into
Afghanistan, even though the establishment of a
democratic system there is more or less a fact.
It is very likely that after October 9 many countries in
the world will wish very hard for Afghanistan to
disappear from the urgent lists of the UN and other
Yes, there are countries that can afford to dismiss
Afghanistan from their priorities. The US is one among
them. The successful elections of September 9 will
obviously be portrayed by US President George W Bush as a
major triumph ahead of his own presidential test on
November 2. And then maybe the old/new administration
will formulate one day the real and meaningful US policy
towards that country in particular and Central Asia in
general, including the withdrawal of American Taliban-
hunters. The same goes for the Korean Peninsula and many
other regions, which are not Iraq. The EU may afford to
ignore Afghanistan on a even bigger scale.
But not so for some other countries, including India,
Iran, Russia and other close neighbours of the Afghans.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly
quoted the UN data claiming Afghanistan now produces 70
per cent of all the world's illicit opiates (which
include heroin), and 90 per cent of the opiates
confiscated in Europe is from Afghanistan. This country
is rapidly becoming another Columbia or Asian Golden
triangle, and the route to Europe leads through Central
Asia and Russia.
India, Iran and others are also worried about the
evolving nature of this "new Afghanistan", and so they
should. Isolating that country by improved borderline
facilities and waiting for new trouble coming out of
there is at best a temporary solution for its neighbours.
So it would only be logical if the countries around
Afghanistan step in and suggest some new policies and
programmes to fill in the after-election mental vacuum.
The hands-on knowledge of the Afghanistan realities and
the personal connections there can make all the
difference. And the urgent need for de-jihadisation and
development of South Asia should not limit itself to
I am sure that one day, and rather soon, India will join
the list of permanent Security Council members. That will
be a fair reflection of the country's new economic might
and its ancientculture. But surely the status of one of
the several world's decision-making powers presumes also
political and intellectual leadership, notably in its
Hindu Holocaust Museum
Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy
The truth about Islam and Muslims
The terrorist mission of Jesus stated in the Christian bible:
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not so send
peace, but a sword.
"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the
daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in
"And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
- Matthew 10:34-36.
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