Reporting Afghanistan

John Wendle

UN opium report

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I haven’t posted anything for a few days, but I’ve been trying to settle into life at our compound here in Lashkar Gah. Today, we went to meetings at a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) base – albeit in an up-armored Toyota Landcruiser – but it was the first time I’ve gotten out beyond the walls. I took a couple interesting pix on the way there and will share them tomorrow. I will also describe a little about the flight down here and my arrival and what it is like.

But for today, there is too much news. The UN released a report titled “Opium Cultivation Down by a Fifth in Afghanistan” and the press jumped on the figures to tie into their stories. You can find links to the stories below. I’ll try to explain the situation down here as best I can – but these stories give raw facts and figures (as well as some much needed reporting and color) about the very place I’m in. I hope you check them out. Also, as I learn more about where I am, hopefully I can tell you what I am learning – since one of the goals down here is poppy eradication to deprive fighters of revenue.

Tomorrow I promise to be less lazy and to post something that I’ve actually written myself.

Best,

John

Also – I send out notifications of new posts by facebook and twitter – but if someone can tell me how to set up an alert on here, I would be grateful.

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Opium Cultivation Down by a Fifth in Afghanistanhttp://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2008-08-26.html

Hard times for Afghan opium farmers as price fallshttp://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSSP478829

U.N. Agency Finds Evidence of Drug Cartels Forming in Afghanistanhttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/world/asia/02afghan.html

Opium Cultivation In Afghanistan Down Sharply, Report Sayshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/01/AR2009090103223.html (less interesting outline)

as well as some broader stories:

Seven Days That Shook Afghanistanhttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/weekinreview/30filkins.html (If you haven’t read his book – The Forever War – definitely check it out – great on the ground reporting – http://www.amazon.com/Forever-War-Dexter-Filkins/dp/0307266397)

Review: High salaries for aid group CEOshttp://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-08-31-us-aid-groups_N.htm?csp=34

and some very good photos:

The Battle in Afghanistan’s Kunar Provincehttp://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1918709,00.html

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Written by johnwendle

September 2, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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