Free Range International: Afghanistan’s Forgotten Province -
There are a couple of recent articles in the flood of coverage about Afghanistan which caught my eye last week. The first is factually wrong but I understand what the author was saying and he is, in a sense correct. The second is factually correct, I understand what that reporter was saying too and think he is, in a sense wrong. By analyzing both one can get a read on where we are in our battle to bring security to the population in the context of nation building.
The first article is Afghanistan’s Forgotten Province by Karlos Zurutuza which is about Nimroz Province. From the article:‘You’re right, no troops based there,’ he says. ‘And I’m realizing now that there’s not a PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) in the area, either.’ I ask him why none are stationed there, but he doesn’t have an answer. Neither do the experts.
‘Nimroz is a major smuggling hub in Afghanistan: heroin goes out and weapons get in across the Afghan-Iranian border,’ says best-selling writer and renowned Afghanistan commentator Ahmed Rashid. He says he has no explanation for the ‘military abandonment’ of this remote, but potentially key, southern province.
Nimroz Province has two major municipal centers; the capitol of Zaranj which is on the border with Iran and Delaram which is astride Rte 1 bordering Helmand Province. There are no ISAF forces in Zaranj but there is the 2nd Marine Regimental Combat Team in Delaram. There are over 10,000 ISAF troops in the Province and if you google “Nimroz Province” you’ll see several articles about the Marines fighting there. So the article is wrong but the point the author is trying to make which is Nimroz has not received anything like the redevelopment love being dumped into other key provinces is correct. Was correct is more accurate because Nimroz is about to feel the love.