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Published on Jun 29, 2009
Afghan Warlords (2009): Despite shady pasts, powerful warlords are given recognition from Washington in return for their support fighting drug-traffickers and the Taliban. We take a look at Americas new pragmatic approach.
One such character is Gul Agha Sherzai, aka The Bulldozer and Governor of Nangarhar for the last five years. After striking a political deal with President Karzai, he became a powerbroker to be reckoned with. Ruling from his Jalalabad palace, Sherzai shows off his power: The Taliban is no danger. I have defeated them. By Afghan standards, security in his region has drastically improved along with an impressive fall in drugs production. Its hard to argue that hes been anything but a success enthuse US counter-narcotics officials. However, his past is less than pristine. An expert on the region says: To be an effective leader there, at some point you had to have been involved in the commission of atrocities, together with the accumulation of enormous wealth and that means Opium.' Sherzai allegedly got wealthy during his time as governor of Kandahar taking a cut from the opium profits from the area. While his former associate has been serving a life-sentence in the US, hes been enjoying a high-profile collaboration with Washington. Why? Theres a perception among the West that hes somebody who can be rehabilitated. He was simply deemed more useful.
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