March 30, 2005
Update on Afghanistan
From the Washington Post:
"Under heavy security, Mrs. Bush spent just six hours on the ground in Afghanistan after flying nearly halfway around the world. U.S. troops manned M-60 rifles at either end of four helicopters that flew the first lady and her entourage to Kabul University.
'We are only a few years removed from the rule of the terrorists, when women were denied education and every basic human right,' Mrs. Bush said at a teacher training institute. 'That tyranny has been replaced by a young democracy and the power of freedom is on display across Afghanistan.'"
Then Mrs. Bush bought a box of cookies from a bakery, paying the shop owner one dollar (U.S.) for them. "Good deal," she said. Outside the bakery, she gave gifts to three children who were "positioned to receive gifts from Mrs. Bush": a bookmark and a kaleidoscope.
"This matters much more than hundreds of millions of dollars," Karzai said of Mrs. Bush's visit, although the fragile democracy is heavily dependent on international aid. "Much more."
President Bush has never been to Afghanistan.
From the New York Times:
"Shortly before Bush landed in Kabul, a car bomb attack claimed by the Taliban killed one person and wounded another in the city of Jalalabad, 75 miles east of the capital.
Rights groups routinely decry violence against women and children and, while the militant threat has receded, many ordinary Afghans fear rising violent crime.
Taliban spokesmen Abdul Latif Hakimi said the Islamist guerrillas were behind today's attack and others elsewhere in the country recently, including a mine blast that killed four American soldiers in Logar province on Saturday.
On Tuesday, two U.S. soldiers were wounded in an ambush in the central province of Uruzgan and overnight two rockets hit a section of the airport in the western city of Herat occupied by U.S. soldiers, but caused no casualties, the U.S. military said."
So keep those invaluable bookmarks coming, Mrs. Bush! And those nifty kaleidoscopes, too! The kids love them.
By the way, while you're off risking your life in war-torn Afghanistan to make diplomatic visits, it looks like that impish husband of yours is getting awfully friendly with the locals in Iowa.
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