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Sunday, May 25, 2003
 
Afghanistan

The West is not helping Afghanistan much. Tony Blair, the notable rhetorician of debatable causes, 'vowed that the West would not walk away from Afghanistan'. Well, we're giving a very good imitation of doing so now. We shall be hearing more about this disgraceful state of affairs shortly. Peter Oborne's documentary 'Afghanistan: Here's One We Invaded Earlier' will be shown on Channel 4 on Saturday 31 May. Incidentally, the Mark II version - Iraq - doesn't seem to be doing too well, either.

Meanwhile, here is an extract from an article, available in full here, by Peter Oborne, describing a visit to an Afghani warlord, notionally loyal to the precarious government in Kabul.
On arrival we found Ishmael Khan hard at work. He was sitting at a small table in his Governor's Hall ministering to his people. They came up to him one by one, and were invited to sit next to their warlord. He listened intently, brow furrowed, as he took in their problems. One woman needed assistance to set up a workshop: he ordered her to be given some money.

Another woman, the widow of one of his Mujahideen heroes, was at her wits' end because the hospital would not admit her sick son. Khan called the hospital personally to secure admittance. Apart from the armed guards with machine guns who surrounded the hall, it was a scene that could have come straight from the Bible.
No, Peter, you've got that wrong; you should have said 'Apart from the flowing robes, it could have come straight from The Godfather'.


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