Afghanistan. One of the opposition's leading leaders,
Herat's former governor Ismail Khan, in March managed to
escape from prison where he was held since the Taliban
militia captured Herat in 1995.
Afghanistan was hit during the year by the most severe
drought since the early 1970s. About twelve million people
were estimated to suffer from food shortages, and large
numbers of livestock died. The United Nations World Food
Program (WFP) raised an alarm in October that food supplies
would end in February 2001 unless aid to Afghanistan
to COUNTRYAAH, the drought and the ongoing fighting in the north-east of
the country triggered a new refugee stream against
neighboring countries. In early September, the Taliban
captured the city of Taloqan and nearby valleys in the
province of Takhar. As a result, the opposition forces were
crowded into an even smaller area. The relations between the
opposition troops in the northeast and those in the Panjshir
valley north of Kabul became more difficult.
During the year, both the Islamic Conference Organization
(OIC) and the fugitive former king Zahir failed to end the
war. They did not even succeed in getting the parties to
meet. UN mediator Francesc Vedrell received half promises
from both sides in late autumn to take part in new peace
talks, but only to formulate a mutually acceptable agenda
for the talks was expected to take months.
The outside world was also troubled by Afghanistan's
position as the world's leading opium producer and reports
that armed Islamic movements from many countries gathered on
Afghan soil under Taliban protection. Taliban leader Mullah
Mohammad Omar issued a total ban on opium cultivation, and
the UN Drug Control Agency, UNDCP, estimated that this
year's harvest of crude opium decreased by almost a third to
3,275 tonnes. The decline could also be due to the drought,
and the outside world was skeptical that the Taliban were
prepared to forgo their most lucrative source of income. In
the late autumn, however, there were signs that the ban
would be complied with.
In December 2006, Danish film director Christoffer
Guldbrandsens premiered his film, The Secret War,
which highlighted Denmark's contribution to US torture of
prisoners in Afghanistan. The film documented that Danish
occupation forces - in violation of the Geneva Convention -
extradited Afghan prisoners to US forces where they were
subjected to torture. The film triggered a violent
counter-offensive on the part of the government, seconded by
the government's press with the News newspaper at
the head. The prime minister's standard comment: "there is
nothing to come by" was repeated daily. The government
opposed an investigation into Denmark's violation of
international conventions, and instead the film was
subjected to an investigation - which five months later
confirmed the film's central conclusions.
The fighting between the Taliban and NATO's occupation
forces intensified during 2007. A major reason for the
Taliban's strengthening since 2005 was the growing
dissatisfaction with the occupying power in the country, and
the absence of another united opposition to the occupying
power. The Afghans have no loving nostalgic relationship
with the Taliban, but the Taliban is currently the only
armed counterbalance to the foreign occupation force.
Several prominent British military personnel acknowledged
in 2007 that NATO was losing the war against the Taliban.
NATO had not learned from the earlier British and later
Soviet attempts to colonize the country. In October, former
British envoy in Bosnia, Lord Ashdown joined the chorus of
critics as he told The Telegraph newspaper: "I
think we have lost and success is unlikely".
In October 2007, increasing pressure on NATO forces led
the Alliance to discuss an extension of the war effort. The
alliance formally pledged to send more forces to the
country, but without any concrete figures being set. Despite
widespread Western war propaganda about the situation in the
country, NATO declared dissatisfied with the war coverage
and escalated the dissemination of its own version of the
war. The Danish Ministry of War sent a propaganda unit to
Afghanistan to handle the "information" of the Danish
population. Important information about Afghanistan today
must be obtained mainly outside Denmark's borders. At the
BBC, Guardian or completely independent sources.
In 2007, Denmark withdrew its forces from Iraq to
concentrate instead on southern Afghanistan in the Helmand
province. In the following years, 35 Danish soldiers were
killed in fighting with the Taliban, and a majority of the
Danish population opposed the war adventure in Afghanistan.
The original Danish argument for the war adventure was a
contribution to « democracy»In Afghanistan. In 2008, this
argument was changed to "if we are not in Afghanistan, they
will come to us" - that is, part of the United States'
so-called war on terror. In July 2008, the North American
think tank Rand published an analysis of 40 years of dealing
with "terrorist organizations". It showed that over 40 years
armed movements have only been militarily defeated in 7% of
cases, in 10% the movement has won, and in 45% political
agreements have been reached that have led to peace.