Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Polish ISAF soldiers arrested on war conventions breach

From Reuters:

WARSAW (Nov 13) - Polish authorities have detained seven soldiers in connection with an incident in which Afghan civilians were killed, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.

Military prosecutors ordered the detentions accusing the soldiers of breaking the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which deal with war crimes and the treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war, the ministry said in a statement. ... (link)
The charges, resulting from an incident in August of this year when Polish soldiers killed several Afghan civilians during a clash with insurgents, will be presented on Wednesday.

Afghan government and the drug trade
From the letters section of the Guardian:
The idea of the UK buying out the Afghan farmers' poppies with a direct transfer of development aid into the hands of producers is not new (Report, November 10). I briefly had the thankless task Mark Malloch Brown now has of dealing with the drugs question in Afghanistan as a junior Foreign Office minister. Six years ago I asked officials about buying out the crop and got the usual "Can't be done, minister" replies from the experts of Whitehall. ...

On a recent visit to Afghanistan I was told that as long as corrupt middle-men in the Afghanistan state bureaucracy are allowed to take mammoth cuts from the heroin trade, little will happen. Second, Islamist militant fundamentalists in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan need first to be defeated in order that some security and confidence in state administration can allow farmers to move away from profitable poppy cultivation. It is fashionable to blame US and UK foreign policy for Islamist militancy. As hapless Pakistani soldiers trying to guard the frontier with Afghanistan are beheaded for apostasy after being taken prisoner by Islamist fundamentalists, is there anyone willing to admit that contemporary Islamist ideology is part of the problem of containing the heroin production in Afghanistan?

Denis MacShane MP
Lab, Rotherham [link]

**N.B. While MacShane's factual assertion about what he was told is interesting, his posturing and ranting about "Islamist idealogy" might lead one to question his clarity of thought. Caveat emptor.

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