Good News on the Afghan Border—Manpower will Triple
I’m sure you are as inspired as I am about NY Times reporter, Michael Kamber’s article in the Sunday paper that describes how we are stepping up the fight on Afghan smuggling. I am really pumped. Mr. Kamber describes an Afghan smuggling problem in which an estimated ten million dollars per day is, as one example, flown from Afghanistan to Dubai. That’s a cool 3.65 billion a year and illustrates clearly why we must keep the money pipeline to Pakghanistan open and flowing at all times. The Times reporter also goes on to describe border crossings that are so porous that all one needs to pass through is a bit of money for a bribe.
Enter Janet Napolitano—our secretary of homeland security, who has taken time out from her busy schedule of full body scans and fuller body pat downs to address the problem . In a bold move, Janet is tripling the number of her agents—to train and assist border and custom workers—in Afghanistan. Ms. Napolitano is quoted as saying, “Border protection will lead to customs revenue and legitimate trade…then Afghanistan will have money for social services and education.
Janet and other homeland security officials made this announcement recently on a fact finding mission to Pakghanistan, in which they flew over the Torkham Gate Border Crossing in the Khyber pass. As it turns out, they were unable to approach the pass on the ground because it is so dangerous that as Ms. Napoliitano’s press secretary stated, “you have to be out of your mind to try that.” I can’t imagine how thrilling it must have been for the border guards to watch Napolitano’s plane streak over the pass at nearly supersonic speed.
In any event, 52 retired homeland security agents will soon be joining the 25 already there to turn the tide against smuggling and bribery. They will apparently be housed in General Petreaus’ super, super secret bunker under the capital city of Kabul. There the agents will crunch out thousands of buttons, banners and tee-shirts with the theme, “just say no to bribery and smuggling” for the Pakghanstan customs agents and border workers to wear. To quote Alfred Worry, one of the new agents, we are building here on the “just say no to drugs” theme, that was so successful in ending teenage drug use in America forever.
General Patreaus, who we were fortunate enough to run into in Joe’s bar and grill in downtown Kabul, would only say, “leave the bottle Joe.”