Some things you may not know about Afghanistan

Some facts about Afghanistan, as presented by veteran correspondent Eric Margolis:

- Al-Qaida never numbered more than 300 men. There are hardly any left in Afghanistan.

- U.S. policy towards Afghanistan is driven by energy geopolitics. Pacification of rebellious Pashtun tribesmen is necessary in order to build energy pipelines south from the Caspian Basin. That is the primary strategic mission of U.S. and Canadian troops.

- The Taliban was founded as a fundamentalist Muslim religious movement of Pashtun tribesmen to fight banditry, rape, drugs and Afghan Communists. The U.S. overthrow of the Taliban resulted in the Communists resuming control over half of Afghanistan. Now, under U.S. occupation, Afghanistan has become a narco state that supplies over 90% of the world's heroin.

- Pashtun tribes comprise half of Afghanistan's population, and 15% of neighboring Pakistan's people. The western powers are involved in an old-fashioned, colonial-style pacification campaign against the Pashtun Taliban.

[Excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis, The Toronto Sun]

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