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20 Sep, 2010 07:25

Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is overestimated – war critic

With about 50 to 100 Al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan altogether, the US is spending over a billion dollars annually fighting each of them, estimated ex-marine officer Matthew Hoh, head of the Afghan Study Group.

“One of the major problems with the US foreign policy is that we are not consistent,” blamed Hoh, explaining that America is withdrawing troops from Iraq where the quantity of Al Qaeda members is many times higher than in Afghanistan.

The ex-marine also questioned the effectiveness of military occupation of the two Muslim countries as a tool to defeat “a terror network that is more similar to a mafia criminal organization and is only composed of a few thousand members worldwide.”

Only 20% of the Taliban groups – which are not united to say the least – have links to Al-Qaeda, which means the US can negotiate with the other 80%, believes Matthew Hoh.

The biggest issue for Russia in relation with Afghanistan is the huge drug flow, about 90% of which drugs goes to Russia and further to Europe.

“You are not going to defeat the drug trade there until you stabilize the country, until you stop the war,” he said, adding that eliminating the aspect of the war itself will ultimately stop one side of the conflict to produce drugs to make money to fight that war.