Random News from Afghanistan
From a Wash Times story titled, "NATO Paces Afghan Offensive":
Government officials charged with eradicating the poppies also have their hands out, these growers said. Having apparently surrendered to the inevitability of a successful harvest, the government functionaries demanded stiff fees for not destroying the crop several weeks ago.
The huge profits to be made from the opium trade help explain why a U.S.-funded annual $800 million counternarcotics program has failed to reduce the output.
A much-anticipated Taliban offensive across eastern and southern Afghanistan this spring has yet to materialize, although NATO officials and Western diplomats warn that the Taliban should not be seen as a depleted insurgency.
Suicide attacks and guerrilla actions are commonplace across southern Afghanistan, even as Taliban leaders and fighters are preoccupied with the poppy harvest. Government officials say they think as many as six would-be suicide bombers are lurking in Lashkar Gah alone, searching for targets.