This is from the NYTimes.
This article makes no mention of the Afghan government. Apparently NATO has decided to attack the drug trade without even bothering to ask or get permission to do so from the Afghan government. This is an occupation not a liberation and Afghan is not a sovereign country. The occupiers do what they want whether bombing targets that harbour civilians or fighting the drug trade. This will make for big trouble. The attacks are to leave the corrupt trade of those associated with the government alone. At best the attacks will lead to more joint ventures between the Taliban and the government drug lords to ensure that their production is safe!
It certainly will turn every opium farmer who is attacked into a Taliban supporter, just what is needed when the whole mission is going downhill.
October 11, 2008
NATO to Hit Drug Trade in Afghanistan
By JUDY DEMPSEY
BUDAPEST, Hungary — NATO defense ministers agreed Friday to allow attacks on Afghanistan’s drug trade , after the United States reached a compromise with its other 25 allies in a major shift in strategy for the alliance.
The accord, accepted with some misgivings by several European countries, including Germany and Spain, means that troops will be able to attack facilities connected to opium production but they must obtain authorization from national governments.
NATO officials stressed that only drug producers known to be supporting the insurgency will be singled out. The operation will not be open-ended and will end when the Afghan security forces are able to take on the task themselves.
The decision, which could include bombing laboratories that convert opium to heroin, was reached under considerable pressure from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and NATO’s Supreme commander, General John Craddock. Throughout the two-day meeting in Budapest, they had argued that the drug trade was helping to fund the Taliban insurgency.
“Secretary Gates is extremely pleased that, after two days of thoughtful discussion, NATO has decided to allow ISAF forces to take on the drug traffickers who are fueling the insurgency, destabilizing Afghanistan and killing our troops,” said the Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell. NATO’s 37,000 troops are part of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.
Afghanistan produces about 90 percent of the heroin on world markets.
NATO’s troops, particularly those in the south of Afghanistan, have come under such sustained attack from the insurgents over the past few months that the British commander, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, warned it would be impossible to defeat the Taliban.
NATO defense ministers will review the success of the mission when they next meet February in Poland.