Gul Agha Sherzai is Governor of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. (Photo July 25, 2002)
Obama’s Man in Afghanistan
Governor Gul Agha Sherzai of Nangarhar, on the other hand, will be attending.
Remember When Obama Finally Made The Trip To Afghanistan?
Obama and others in the delegation received a briefing inside the U.S. base from the Afghan provincial governor of Nangarhar, Gul Agha Sherzai, a no-nonsense, bullish former warlord.
“Obama promised us that if he becomes a president in the future, he will support and help Afghanistan not only in its security sector but also in reconstruction, development and economic sector,” Sherzai told The Associated Press.
“Progress Against Poppy Production”
During 2008, Afghanistan surprised the world by reducing opium poppy cultivation by almost 20 percent. At a ceremony in Kabul last month, U.S. Charge D’ Affairs Christopher Dell congratulated Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics, other Afghan government ministries, and the Director for Local Government for their efforts to stop Afghanistan’s illicit drug traffic.
“Eighteen provinces were poppy free,” said Mr. Dell, “Another 9 provinces had only a very small amount of poppy. Narcotics cultivation was mainly confined to 5 provinces in the south, where insecurity makes it difficult for the government to use law enforcement against narcotics,” he said.
Charge D’Affairs Dell noted that the Ministry of Counter Narcotics’ work with governors was vital to this success.
Governor Gul Agha Sherzai of Nangarhar is a striking example of how effective a governor can be. Thanks to his efforts, Nangarhar, Afghanistan’s second largest poppy producer in 2007, became poppy free in 2008. In recognition of this accomplishment, Nangarhar received $10 million from the Good Performers Initiative, a program funded by the U.S. and Britain that provides development assistance to communities leading the fight against poppy in Afghanistan.
U.S. Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, second from left, with Gul Agha Shirzai, left, the governor of Nangarhar province, and other unidentified officials during a meeting in Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, July 19, 2008. (AP)
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