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Afghanistan Celebrates Independence Day


http://gdb.rferl.org/5C94B31E-7C3E-4A6C-8A8A-8B52FE69599D_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/5C94B31E-7C3E-4A6C-8A8A-8B52FE69599D_mw800_mh600.jpg Independence Day parade today in Kandahar (epa) KABUL, August 19, 2007 -- Afghanistan celebrated its independence from British rule today with a military parade and a colorful display of the country's national dresses, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.

President Hamid Karzai told thousands gathered at Kabul city stadium that Afghanistan is once again threatened by a resurgent Taliban-led insurgency and urged the country to focus on educating its youth.

"Dear youths of the country, once again we see that our soil is under the
attack of [our] enemies," Karzai said. "We again see that they are trying to stop our
development. And again there are efforts to hamper reconstruction, progress, and
development of Afghanistan."

The holiday marks Afghanistan's liberation from Britain in 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war.
Afghanistan's Opium Problem
An antidrug billboard in Kabul shows a skeleton hanging from an opium bulb (AFP)

OPIUM FARMING ON THE RISE Despite a nationwide program by the Afghan government to eradicate opium-poppy fields and offer farmers alternative crops, international experts say that the 2006 opium crop was as much as 50 percent larger than the previous year's record crop. Afghanistan also accounted for practically all of the world's illegal opium production.(more)


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