War News StoriesExcerpts of Key War News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of war news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The devastating civil war in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 19,000 children since the conflict began in 2011, according to new estimates tabulated by the Syrian Human Rights Network. The report found that 18,858 Syrian children were killed by government forces, mostly through missile shelling and the use of barrel bombs in active conflict zones, from March 2011 through October 2015. 582 children were shot by snipers and 159 were tortured to death in government prisons, the group wrote. Rebel forces killed an additional 603 children in that time frame, and another 229 died at the hands of the Islamic State militant group. Since September, Russian airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of at least 86 children, while airstrikes by U.S.-backed coalition forces have killed 75, the report said. The influx of Syrian refugees into Europe has stoked a continent-wide crisis in recent years. But a newer debate around how many refugees to accept, and how to screen them, has cropped up in Europe and the United States in recent days amid fears that terrorists could try to infiltrate refugee groups. Various human rights groups put the total civilian death toll from the Syrian conflict at around 200,000, making child deaths around 10 percent of the carnage. But death counts have been overwhelmingly difficult to calculate; the United Nations announced last year it would stop updating its estimates.
Note: The New York Times recently reported that a Syrian passport found at a Paris bombing site was planted as part of a false evidence trail "to turn public opinion against Syrian refugees." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2009, not long after his historic election and seven years after the first U.S. drone strike, President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, however, deadly U.S. drone strikes have increased sharply, as have doubts about the program’s reliability and effectiveness. The latest criticism comes from Drone, a new documentary about the CIA’s covert drone war. To help promote the film and inveigh against the agency’s drone program ... four former operators - Stephen Lewis, Michael Haas, Cian Westmoreland and Brandon Bryant - appeared at a press conference. Speaking out can lead to veiled threats and prosecution. Which is why for years Bryant was the only drone veteran who openly rebuked the drone war. But his persistence and his appearance in the film, the other three say, inspired them to come forward. On multiple occasions, the men say they complained to their superiors about their concerns to no avail. Drone strikes kill far more civilians than the government admits. These deaths, they argue, wind up helping militant groups recruit new members and hurt the U.S.’s long-term security. By distancing soldiers from the battlefield, the operators suggest the people carrying out strikes may become even more desensitized to killing than their counterparts on the front lines. On some occasions, Haas says operators referred to children as “fun-sized terrorists” or “TITS,” terrorists in training.
Note: A human rights attorney has stated the four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers mentioned above have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen. How many more have not spoken out against these abuses for fear of retaliation like this? Read more about the major failings of US drone attacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
From 2011 to 2013, the most elite forces in the U.S. military, supported by the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community, set out to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda forces that remained hidden ... along Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan. Dubbed Operation Haymaker, the campaign has been described as a potential model for the future of American warfare. The military’s own analysis demonstrates that the Haymaker campaign was in many respects a failure. The vast majority of those killed in airstrikes were not the direct targets. Nor did the campaign succeed in significantly degrading al Qaeda’s operations in the region. The frequency with which “targeted killing” operations hit unnamed bystanders is among the more striking takeaways from the Haymaker slides. [Documents obtained by The Intercept] show that during a five-month stretch of the campaign, nearly nine out of 10 people who died in airstrikes were not the Americans’ direct targets. Larry Lewis, formerly a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, ... found that drone strikes in Afghanistan were 10 times more likely to kill civilians than conventional aircraft. This month, an American airstrike on a hospital run by the international organization Médecins Sans Frontičres ... killed at least a dozen members of the humanitarian group’s medical staff and 10 patients, including three children. A nurse on the scene recalled seeing six victims in the intensive care unit ablaze in their beds.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge Thursday to keep American troops in Afghanistan through 2016 was the last thing Mary Hladky wanted to hear. “It’s what we were dreading,” said the mother of three, whose son Ryan is in the National Guard after serving in the Army from 2009 to 2013 and in Afghanistan during the surge in 2011. She said announcements such as the one Obama made last week no longer surprise her, but they are still very upsetting. In May 2014, Obama said it was “time to turn the page on ... the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” saying he would withdraw the last American troops from the former country by 2016. Thursday, the president reversed course, saying the U.S. would keep at least 9,800 troops in the Central Asian nation through most of 2016, with at least 5,500 of them there at the end of next year. Obama ... was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and top military leaders when he made the announcement in Washington. After her son’s deployment, Hladky joined a group called Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), which has for years urged lawmakers to bring U.S. troops back from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Obama said last week he opposes the idea of what he called “endless war,” it appears the decision to conclude what is now a 14-year-old conflict in Afghanistan will no longer be his to make, given the end of his term in office in January 2017. Meanwhile, his move has resulted in a tremendous amount of anger and betrayal being felt among many military families.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
On October 3, a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontičres in Kunduz, Afghanistan, partially destroying it. The U.S. has repeatedly attacked civilian facilities in the past but the targets have generally not been affiliated with a European, Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization such as MSF. On the seventh day of Operation Desert Storm, [a] U.S.-led coalition bombed the Infant Formula Production Plant in the Abu Ghraib suburb of Baghdad. The CIA’s own investigation later concluded the site had been bombed “in the mistaken belief that it was a key BW [Biological Weapon] facility.” In 1998, the Clinton administration targeted the Al Shifa [pharmaceutical] factory with 13 cruise missiles [claiming] the plant was “associated with the bin Laden network” and was “involved in the production of materials for chemical weapons.” The Clinton administration never produced any convincing evidence. The plant had produced 90 percent of Sudan’s major pharmaceutical products. Due to its destruction “tens of thousands of people ... have suffered and died. At the beginning of the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. attacked the complex housing the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul. Then the U.S. bombed the same complex again. The second attack destroyed warehouses containing tons of food and supplies for refugees. Several weeks after the Red Cross attacks, the U.S. bombed the Kabul bureau of Al Jazeera, destroying it and damaging the nearby office of the BBC.
Note: Yet the US military claims it has incredible accuracy with its bombings and the information on which they are based. The link above provides a list of major recent US military attacks on civilian institutions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power marched to Twitter to proclaim: “We call on Russia to immediately cease attacks on Syrian oppo[sition and] civilians.” Along with that decree, she posted a statement from the U.S. and several of its closest authoritarian allies — including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.K. — warning Russia that civilian casualties “will only fuel more extremism and radicalization.” Early this morning, in the Afghan city of Kunduz, the U.S. dropped bombs on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders. The airstrike killed at least nine of the hospital’s medical staff, and seriously injured dozens of patients. This strike on a hospital in Afghanistan comes days after the Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen that killed more than 130 people. After days of silence from the U.S. government ... the Saudi Foreign Minister told CBS News that “We work with our allies including the United States on these targets.” This last week has been a particularly gruesome illustration of continuous U.S. conduct under the War on Terror banner, including under the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president. The formula by now is clear: bombing whatever countries it wants, justifying it all by reflexively labelling their targets as “terrorists,” and then dishonestly denying or casually dismissing the civilians they slaughter as “collateral damage.” Russia [uses] this exact rhetorical template in Syria.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
U.S. special operations forces in Iraq developed an untraceable explosive device they nicknamed the Xbox to kill Iraqi Shiite militiamen smuggling roadside bombs from Iran to attack American troops, according to a new book. Starting in about 2007, Army Delta Force commandos in a special task force in the war to oust Saddam Hussein used the bombs against Iranian collaborators whose improvised explosive devices were powerful enough to destroy the most heavily armored U.S. vehicles, Sean Naylor wrote in “Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command.” The Xbox bomb “was designed to look and behave exactly like one made by Iraqi insurgents” with a hodgepodge of Russian, Chinese and Pakistani-made parts, wrote Naylor, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy. The intent was that if the device were sent to the FBI for analysis, even its experts “would mistakenly trace the bomb back” to a particular terrorist bomb maker. Using the bomb ... the command “found a way around the political restrictions by killing its enemies without leaving any U.S. fingerprints,” according to the book.
American-trained Syrian fighters gave at least a quarter of their U.S.-provided equipment to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria early this week, the U.S. Central Command said late Friday. The acknowledgment is the latest discouraging report regarding the $500 million train-and-equip program, which Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, head of Central Command, said last week had only “four or five” trained Syrian fighters active in Syria. Since then, the military has said approximately 70 fighters have been added. In the toxic and chaotic Syrian mix, Jabhat al-Nusra and many Syrian rebels are fighting a separate war from the one being waged by the United States against the Islamic State. Their main goal is the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. military vetters have had a hard time finding approved Syrians to train who are also willing to pledge to direct their focus toward the Islamic State rather than Assad. The Pentagon’s admission of the arms turnover comes at an especially sensitive time for the White House. In light of the shortcomings of the train-and-equip program ... White House and Pentagon officials have been considering providing arms and ammunition to a wider array of rebel groups and relaxing some vetting standards. The recent disclosures, however, highlight the pitfalls of that strategy in Syria, where the United States has essentially no troops on the ground and little means of accounting for the weapons it provides.
Note: A carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS shows that the U.S. has been providing arms and support to al-Nusra by various channels for years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
This year, US Special Operations forces have already deployed to 135 nations, according to Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command (SOCOM). That’s roughly 70 percent of the countries on the planet. Every day, in fact, America’s most elite troops are carrying out missions in 80 to 90 nations, practicing night raids or sometimes conducting them for real, engaging in sniper training or sometimes actually gunning down enemies from afar. As part of a global engagement strategy of endless hush-hush operations conducted on every continent but Antarctica, they have now eclipsed the number and range of special ops missions undertaken at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the waning days of the Bush administration, Special Operations forces (SOF) were reportedly deployed in only about 60 nations around the world. By 2010, according to the Washington Post, that number had swelled to 75. [It reached] a new record of 135 this summer. This 80 percent increase over the last five years is indicative of SOCOM’s exponential expansion which first shifted into high gear following the 9/11 attacks. SOCOM will not name the 135 countries in which America’s most elite forces were deployed this year, let alone disclose the nature of those operations. These forces carry out operations almost entirely unknown to the American taxpayers who fund them, operations conducted far from the scrutiny of the media or meaningful outside oversight of any kind.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Pope Francis on Thursday gently scolded Congress on a variety of issues. Speaking about his determination “to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,” when he said this: "Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." The U.S. is by far the largest arms supplier in the world. During the Obama administration, weapons sales have surged to record levels, in large part due to huge shipments to Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia. A healthy chunk of those arms sales are heavily subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer. Congress, which could have blocked any of this, went along happily — in no small part because of the approximately $150 million a year the defense industry spends on lobbying and direct campaign contributions. U.S. firms make up seven of the top 10 arms-exporting companies, with Lockheed Martin and Boeing coming in at numbers one and two. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that he would even further speed up U.S. arms sales to Gulf countries.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. The Pope began speaking out against this racket in a talk with Italian schoolchildren in May. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Only four or five Syrian individuals trained by the United States military to confront the Islamic State remain in the fight, the head of the United States Central Command told a Senate panel on Wednesday, a bleak acknowledgment that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters has gone nowhere. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the top American commander in the Middle East, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States would not reach its goal of training 5,000 Syrian fighters anytime soon. In May, the Defense Department began its training program for up to 5,400 fighters a year, in what White House officials described as a necessary component of President Obama’s strategy to use local troops on the ground against the Islamic State. General Austin told the Senate committee that many fighters in the first class of 54 graduates of the training program for Syrians were attacked in July by an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, and either fled or were killed, leaving only a “small number” of rebels still in the fight. Asked how many fighters were still in Syria, General Austin said that “it’s a small number.” He added, “We’re talking four or five.”
Japan is expected to pass controversial security bills ... after days of fraught debates that at times descended into scuffles, tears and tantrums. The controversial laws have seen tens of thousands take to the streets in almost daily rallies for the past few weeks, in a show of public anger on a scale rarely seen in Japan. Opponents argue the new laws – which would allow the tightly restricted military to intervene overseas to defend its allies – violate Japan’s pacifist constitution and could see the country dragged into American wars in far-flung parts of the globe. The changes reinterpret the constitution to allow Japan’s military to fight to protect its allies, which [prime minister Shinzo] Abe argues is necessary because of threats from an increasingly belligerent China and unstable North Korea. Still, there are growing signs the campaign has taken a political toll – opinion polls show the vast majority of the public is against the bills. Protesters, including a Nobel Prize winner, popular musicians and other prominent figures, fear the changes could fundamentally alter Japan’s character as a pacifist nation. Security experts said the bills would also force a re-evaluation of Japan’s place on the world stage.
Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has questioned the existence of al-Qaida, and denied that the 9/11 terror attacks ... were planned in Afghanistan. On the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, Karzai, who left office last year after 12 years, used an interview with al Jazeera to express his doubt that the terrorist group led by the late Osama bin Laden was responsible for the operation which prompted the invasion of Afghanistan. Karzai ... also claimed in the interview that Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan are “definitely” members of “Pakistani militias”. When asked if he agreed that al-Qaida in Afghanistan had been behind the 9/11 attacks ... Karzai replied: “I can tell you for a fact that the operation was neither conducted from Afghanistan, nor were the Afghan people responsible for that.” A daring and bloody operation involving US special forces and the CIA put Karzai back in Afghanistan in the last weeks of the 2001 war and then into power as a supposed consensus candidate. But Karzai quickly proved himself independent and contrarian. Officials from the US, the UK, Nato and the UN all repeatedly criticised Karzai for failing to crack down on rampant corruption and the booming narcotics trade in Afghanistan. By 2009, according to Robert Gates, the former US defence secretary, Washington was so keen to oust the Afghan president that officials connived in delaying an Afghan presidential election and then tried to manipulate the outcome in a “clumsy and failed putsch”.
Note: By 2000, the Taliban had mostly stopped heroin production in Afghanistan. But once former Unocal employee Hamid Karzai was installed into power by the US, bags of CIA cash helped transform Afghanistan into a narco state.
David Cameron is facing questions over Britain’s decision to follow the US model of drone strikes after the prime minister confirmed that the government had authorised an unprecedented aerial strike in Syria that killed two Britons fighting alongside Islamic State (Isis). Cameron justified the strikes on the grounds that Reyaad Khan, a 21-year-old from Cardiff, who had featured in a prominent Isis recruiting video last year, represented a “clear and present danger”. Two other Isis fighters were killed in the attack, [which was] the first time that a UK prime minister has authorised the targeting of a UK citizen by an unmanned aerial drone outside a formal conflict. One of them, Ruhul Amin, 26, was also British. A third Briton, Junaid Hussain, 21, was killed by a separate US airstrike three days later. Cameron disclosed the strikes in a dramatic afternoon statement which had originally been billed as a chance to outline his plans to take thousands of extra refugees from Syria. Downing Street dismissed suggestions that the prime minister had deliberately engineered UK involvement in the drone strikes rather than leaving them to the US ... as a way of making the case for greater British involvement in action against Isis in the country. Cameron, who had said that he would seek parliament’s approval before extending any British military action against Isis targets from Iraq to Syria, said he had acted in line with his commitments, [because he] reserved the right to authorise strikes without a vote in the event of an emergency.
Note: So as long as a person is declared a known terrorist, the government is claiming the right to kill that person without any legal process. Is that constitutional? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants. In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”. Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”. The US military’s educational institutions have come under fire before for promoting “total war” against Islam. In 2012, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, ordered a comprehensive scouring of anti-Islam training material after a course proposed “Hiroshima” tactics against Islamic holy sites, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning transformation from perennial leftist rebel to leader of Britain’s Labour Party upended British politics Saturday. The Corbyn victory represented an extraordinary rebuke to Labour’s more centrist powers-that-be, especially to former prime minister Tony Blair, who had campaigned vigorously against Corbyn. But interventions from Blair and other party heavyweights apparently did little to halt Corbyn’s momentum and may have even backfired. In a fiery victory speech, Corbyn vowed to combat society’s “grotesque inequality” and make Britain a more humane country. Corbyn has often bucked the Labour leadership on critical issues — including the vote to authorize the Iraq war — and his message resonated among Labour voters who believe their party has been reduced to a pale imitation of the Tories, especially as it lurched to the center under Blair. He has previously called for Britain to leave NATO, favors unilateral nuclear disarmament and champions the nationalization of vast sectors of the economy. He has also said that he will apologize on behalf of Labour for the Iraq invasion and that Blair could face war-crimes charges. In Britain ... voters on both ends of the spectrum are looking for alternatives to the traditional power-brokers. “This isn’t just a leftist phenomenon. It’s a populist phenomenon,” [Queen Mary University professor Tim] Bale said. “It’s the idea that voters are fed up with politics as usual and an elite that’s compromised.”
Note: Former prime minister Tony Blair was reported to have personally made millions from warmongering, and was convicted in a symbolic Malaysian trial of “crimes against peace” in Iraq. Will Corbyn actually attempt to bring formal charges against Blair in the U.K.?
The New York Times today has a truly bizarre article regarding the U.S. and cluster bombs. The Paper of Record [claims the U.S.] government, though refusing to sign the cluster ban treaty, has nonetheless “abided by its provisions.” This claim is totally false. The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world’s most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways. In December 2009 - just weeks after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - President Obama ordered a cruise missile strike (that) “killed 35 women and children.” Among the munitions used in that strike were cluster bombs. Although the U.S. at first refused to confirm responsibility, a Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, visited the scene and found irrefutable proof that it was done by the U.S., a finding subsequently confirmed. Obama ... then forced the imprisonment for years of the Yemeni journalist who reported it. Under the treaty which The Paper of Record today claimed the U.S. honors: "Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Use cluster munitions; (b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; (c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention. The U.S. does not occasionally violate one of those provisions. It continually violates all of them, systematically and as a matter of policy.
No one knows what the Air Force’s top-secret new bomber will look like. But the service keeps saying it knows how much it’s going to cost. That’s what makes the Air Force’s $25 billion price tag error so disconcerting. The problem began last year, when the service told Congress the yet-to-be-built Long-Range Strike Bomber would cost $33.1 billion between 2015 and 2025. It recently updated the estimate (from 2016 to 2026) to $58.4 billion - a hike of $25.3 billion, or 76%. But, the Air Force acknowledged last week, the latest cost estimate to develop and buy the aircraft over the coming decade is pegged at $41.7 billion. The pair of multi-billion-dollar snafus - $9 billion too low last year, $17 billion too high this year - is head-spinning. It leads to a simple question: is anyone minding the store? So what happened? “It occurred in part because of human error,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. “And in part because of process error, meaning a couple of our people got the figures wrong and the process of coordination was not fully carried out in this case.” Those who erred have been “counseled,” James said. “The key thing is there has been no change in those cost figures.” In other words, that recent $41.7 billion estimate is rock solid, at least for now.
Note: Can "human error" also explain the $8.5 trillion that disappeared from the Pentagon since 1996 and much more?
Aliens flew to earth on peace missions to prevent nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union at the start of the Cold War, according to a former Nasa astronaut. Dr Edgar Mitchell has made a series of increasingly bizarre claims about extra terrestrial life. His status as the sixth man to walk on the moon - during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 - gives his claims a ready audience. Now he says military top brass saw UFOs visiting Earth during weapons tests in the 1940s at American missile bases and the famous White Sands Proving Ground, in the New Mexico desert, where the world's first nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945. "White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons - and that's what the extra-terrestrials were interested in ... they wanted to know about our military capabilities," [Mitchell said]. "My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth." He claims other officers manning missile silos or Pacific bases back up his claims with stories of alien spacecraft shooting down test rockets mid-flight.
The U.S. has now spent more on the reconstruction of Afghanistan than it spent on the Marshall Plan, which resuscitated Europe after World War II. The Marshall Plan delivered $103 billion in today’s dollars to 16 European countries between 1948 and 1952. That has now been topped by congressional appropriations for reconstruction in Afghanistan, which so far have come to $109 billion in today’s dollars. The difference: The Marshall Plan helped Europe get back on its feet, while Afghanistan is a chaotic mess. The Marshall Plan comparison is the most striking fact in a depressing, 259-page quarterly report to Congress issued July 30 by John Sopko, the congressionally appointed special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. One recent audit ... raised concerns about the army’s ability to account for some 465,000 U.S.-provided small arms. This quarter, Sopko’s report says, a local police unit cut the power lines from Kabul ... “in retaliation for not being paid for three months.” To cut costs, NATO plans to shrink the Afghan National Security Forces to less than 230,000 by 2017. But an independent assessment ... concluded that the forces will require more than 370,000 people. That would cost three times as much as the Afghan government’s entire domestic revenue. Afghanistan’s main exports are carpets and rugs, dried fruits, medicinal plants, opium, and gems. But Sopko observes, “opiates are not part of the licit economy, and gems are easy to smuggle, so their contributions to government revenue are limited.”
Note: By 2000, the Taliban had mostly stopped heroin production in Afghanistan. But once this country was under US control, illicit drug production surged to record levels and Afghanistan became a narco state. How much "reconstruction" money became the drug cartel money that kept big banks afloat in 2008?
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.