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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Afghan expulsions

Is it just me, or do the expulsions of two UN officials seem to be surrounded by an absence of substance about what they have done, or denials of what they might have done?

We are told that a 'British' official is being expelled, but of course he is actually an UN official and as such has to all intents and purposes traded his nationality for a supra-national role with the UN.

Mervyn Patterson is described as having lived for 10 years in Afghanistan and having developed good relations with the Taliban before their overthrow in 2001. In his role as a UN Political Officer, it would be surprising if he were not involved with Afghani politics at every level - both pro-Karzai and pro-Taliban.

It seems his real crime is to be able to travel freely through Helmand Province and meet with anyone and everyone; all the better to assess the real mood and needs of the country one would think.

It seems that petty jealousies have forced the Afghan Government to expel him because of his knowledge, experience and ability to criss-cross the country. And in turn the British Government are playing the jingoistic card, rather than backing the UN, and it is likely that this will box in the Afghanis rather than encourage them to reconsider.

The outcome? The permanent loss of skills, knowledge and ability and an undermining of the efforts to understand - and then win - the hearts and minds of the ordinary Afghani.

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