In a surprisingly harsh outburst, NATO Supreme Commander for Europe General John Craddock has condemned those allies who are questioning the wisdom of the US plan to ratchet up raids against Afghan drug lords. Gen. Craddock complained that a “handful” of unnamed nations “have not listened to the argument” and keep bothering him with the same questions over and over.
The nations have reportedly expressed concern that escalating attacks against the drug trade might worsen the insurgency. Germany in particular has barred its forces in Afghanistan from participating in any counter-narcotics operations for fear of increasing the risk to its soldiers. To this Gen. Craddock responds with a terse “give me a break!” and the rhetorical question for those fearing it might make the situation in Afghanistan worse “how can it be any worse?”
Of course, the drug trade in Afghanistan hardly begins and ends with the Taliban. The UN says that corrupt government officials are playing a role in the trade, and the crop is an important source of revenue for many struggling Afghan farmers. This weekend, reports also rose which linked the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the nation’s heroin trade. Karzai (the brother, not the President) claimed the charges were simply a US effort to deflect attention from civilian casualties, and challenged anyone to prove the allegations.
Undaunted, Gen. Craddock has vowed to “not rest until I have exhausted every avenue to convince the political leaders of NATO that this is a moral requirement.” Glib comments about how much worse it could even hypothetically get aside, it is unclear what avenues the general is referring to.
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