A week at war

Meredith Davisson

Names and Places:Hamid Karzai•First democratically-elected president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan •Assumed leadership in the country in 2001 after the defeat of theTaliban and officially took office in 2004•Belongs to no specific political party

Kabul: the capital of Afghanistan

Operation Enduring Freedom•The official name for the U.S. government’s military response to the Sept. 11 attacks •Includes forces in Afghanistan, the Philippines, central Africa and the Horn of Africa, concentrating on counter-terrorism activi-ties•Began in October 2001

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): the name for NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan. It is comprised of 37 countries

•In the last 9 months, ISAF forces have increased from 9,000 to 33,000•ISAF is also backed by about 28,600 Afghan National Army troops and 30,200 Afghan policemen •About 12,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan

Poppy/Opium cultivation•Accounts for as much as one third of Afghanistan’s GDP•The amount of land used for poppy cultivation grew last year by more than 60 percent•Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium•The country’s opium production provides 90 percent of the world’s heroin•International drug cartels organize the sales of opium, and the Taliban benefits largely from the business•The armies of drug cartels in Afghanistan often engage in conflict with NATO troops•The United States wishes to eradicate opium production and replace it with other crops•38,500 of nearly 430,000 acres under cultivation were eradicated in 2006•As a result of eradication, thousands of farmers are losing their jobs and could potentially turn to the Taliban for support (Numbers from www.washingtonpost.com) Numbers: As of March 17, 2007:(As a result of OEF)•308 U.S. forces have been killed in Afghanistan•1,132 U.S. forces have been wounded in action in Afghanistan (numbers from Department of Defense website)•There are 136,565 (approx.) Afghani internally displaced persons in the south and the west