Via Michelle Malkin, Ray Robinson argues that the biased western media is spinning progress in Afghanistan as failure (for instance by spinning the fact that the Taliban have been kicked out of towns and villages and live in the desert as the Taliban having control of vast swathes of [desert] land) and lists some of the metrics of progress in Afghanistan.
- The Afghan Army is growing in size, experience, and leadership capabilities.
- A recent study found that 90% of the Afghan population trusted the country’s military force.
- More than 4,000 km of roads have been built where only 50 km existed in 2001.
- The rehabilitation of the North-East power system has advanced and access of the rural households to electricity has been significantly increased.
- In 2007 alone, ISAF nations completed 1,080 civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) projects.
- 2,000 schools were built or repaired in the last five years and around 6.4 million children (including 1.5 million girls) are now in schools.
- Since 2001, both infant and under-five mortality has declined by 26% and 22% respectively.
- In 2001, 8% of Afghans had access to some form of healthcare. Now more than 80% of the population has access to medical care.
- The non-opium economy has grown at an average of 12% over the past four years; the number of poppy-free provinces has grown from six in 2006 to 13 in 2007.
- Afghan public support for international involvement in Afghanistan remains high with around 70% of Afghans supporting the presence of international forces.
- The majority of Afghans believe their country is going in the right direction and 84% support their current government (as opposed to 4% who would support the Taliban).
- They also maintain a positive view of reconstruction efforts with 63% saying that reconstruction efforts in their area have been effective since 2002.
I have spread plenty of bad news about Afghanistan and Pakistan here, and some of these posts have been the most popular posts on my blog for a long time. To some extent this is because of fascination with the evil propagated by some of the Afghans who match bin Laden and Zawahiri for evil, such as Hekmatyar and the Dadullah brothers, Mullah and Mansoor. But that is not an excuse for despairing in the face of the relentless media bias. I’m sorry I despaired and doubly sorry if I led any others to despair.
Do not despair, dear reader. Be strong, be faithful, know thyself and that which dwells in thy heart. Be an active consumer of the news. Don’t simply fall for what is in the news, especially do not do as I did and lend extra credence to local news from Pakistani and Afghan publications simply because the sources are exotic. News product from dictatorships and monocultures does not come from a free media. It is a different kind of product entirely.
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