What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Friday, November 28, 2008

NATO and counternarcotics in Afghanistan

The Budapest informal meeting of NATO defence ministers, recently, in October, approved of tougher counternarcotics action in Afghanistan, mostly against major dealers and laboratories. This was the lowest common denominator which perhaps should not have been achieved. For me Haji Bashir's example shows that you cannot just take out individuals from a complex web of qawms and hope you can thus achieve lasting results in the face of an instantly non-replacable economic activity, in which extensive networks are involved. If you do that, it may even have destabilising/antagonising potential, as I think there may have been just such a destabilising effect with Haji Bashir Noorzai's removal.
I knew that at the time, in Budapest, countries like Germany, Italy and Spain were most opposed to backing any common resolution on the counternarcotics issue. I know that my country, Hungary, would never be among the most active in this domain. There seemed to be an agreement reached that it would still be left to individual ISAF member countries' discretion how much they were actually ready to do. But meanwhile some officials also seemed to imply to the media that there may be attempts in the future to micro-manage countries' stance in this respect, in somebody's desired direction, by "having" defence minister Mohammad Rahim Wardak (quite well-networked with some elite circles in the US) say publicy who is supposed to do more.
So I was wondering about other countries' approach, willing to know more about the issue. I'm doing some research on Poland at the moment, and I always suspected they would be among those generally not opposed to taking on more of a role in CN matters. I found what could appear to be photo proof of this, from Ghazni province, from Reuters (the photos are dated November 25; I can't find a link to the original site now.)
Of course I don't pretend to know the context of the visual information presented here. I see what may be hashish plants burning. The Afghan soldier making a funny gesture in the picture below, on the left, is making some sort of joke that wasn't shared with me. (Was he standing too close to the fire, for too long? Is he just implying that for fun?) Anyway, here are those photos but that's as much as you and I get on this at the moment.

No comments: