The results of war in Afghanistan

Little is being heard about Afghanistan as events in Iraq have come centre stage. Still some wonder about the little country that the U.S. bombed to smithereens about a year and a half ago.

From all reports, it's a rip-roaring mess.

For the second time in less than four months, the U.S. military launched a new operation, involving nearly 24 helicopter gunships and about 70 vehicles, against suspected hideouts of Taliban militants in the southern province of Helmand.

Although the Bush administration promised millions of dollars for reconstruction in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai got nowhere when he went to Washington seeking help in February. Congress has since put $295 million in the budget -- unasked for by Pres. Bush. Senator Chuck Hagel admitted it wasn't nearly enough.

Are post-Taliban women better off? Women are forbidden to leave home, even when they are pregnant or in labour. Slogans on walls throughout Kabul urge women to appear in public only wearing their burkhas. Many are afraid to do otherwise, not knowing who is responsible for the words.

Amnesty International says the Afghan police are using torture in their interrogations.

And Afghanistan has now overtaken Burma in becoming the world's leading producer of heroin. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report says the area of land used to cultivate opium poppies has reached 30,750 hectares, compared with 1,685 hectares in 2001.

It's hardly a success story.