Archives: February 2007
COLOMBIA & AFGHANISTAN
OGOTA, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Colombia's U.S.-backed fight against drug traffickers and armed groups could be a good model for Afghanistan to follow in its effort to battle illegal narcotics, a top U.S. general said on Friday.
Financed by millions of dollars in U.S. aid, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has pushed back left-wing rebels, demobilized thousands of rightist militia and sought to tackle the huge cocaine trade that helps fuel the Andean country's conflict.
Afghanistan, where Washington is helping President Hamid Karzai battle insurgents and the drug trade since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001, has already sought security advice and training from Bogota.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Afghanistan could learn from how Colombia has taken back parts of the country once under control of armed groups, invested in social projects and disarmed illegal paramilitaries.
"I think those kinds of outreach programs by the Colombian government are good models for President Karzai to consider as he looks at how to reduce the amount of drug trafficking in his country and promote instability," he told reporters in Bogota.
The White House this week appointed current U.S. ambassador to Bogota, William Wood, as its new envoy to Afghanistan.
Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told reporters Bogota has trained more than 100 Afghan security officials and sent missions from its National Police force to Kabul.
Afghanistan's allies fear the country's poppy crop -- used to make opium and heroin -- helps finance the hard-line Islamist Taliban.
Opium production and trafficking make up a third of the Afghan economy and security problems and corruption hamper their eradication, the U.S. State Department said last year.
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CRISPAZ El Salvador Weekly News and Analysis Feb. 12-18, 2007
1) Human Rights Ombudswomen: Ex-Military Officers Should Not Run Prisons
2) Forced Disappearances Continue, El Salvadoran Government Responsible says UN Working Group
Amnesty International has condemned the killing of human rights defender Yolanda Izquierdo in Montería, Córdoba Department, only days after she reported repeated threats to the local authorities and requested protection.
The U.S. military's lone outpost in South America is a modest affair - some 220 Americans share space with a local air force wing and an international airport. They are allowed no more than eight planes at a time.
GUATEMALA: Guatemalan SOA Graduate to run for Congress
On January 19 - 2007, former Guatemalan dictator General Jose Efrain Rios Montt announced that he plans to run for Congress in September, which would provide him with immunity from prosecution on the charges of violating human rights during the country's 36-year civil war. The former dictator, who attended the SOA in the 1950's for a "Special course", has been charged with genocide, torture, terrorism and illegal detention by the Spanish national court.
Ríos Montt ruled Guatemala between March 1982 and August 1983, one of the bloodiest periods in Guatemala's 36-year civil war. During his reign, Rios Montt led a brutal campaign to wipe out large portions of the country's indigenous populations which, according to the United Nations truth commission, resulted in the annihilation of nearly 600 villages.
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