Vol. 1, Issue 2, May 20, 2003
Lawless Province Makes it Hard for Aid Workers to Keep Feet on Ground
Conditions in the southern Afghanistan province of Zabol have hindered efforts by international aid groups to assist the local population, say U.N. officials.
"The government in Kabul has not succeeded in establishing any kind of law and order," said U.N. Undersecretary Moabi Fandullah earlier today. "This is preventing implementation of even the most essential laws, in particular the law of gravity." As a result of this, aid workers report random and significant fluctuations in weight, resulting in startling phenomena such as aid packages hovering uselessly in the sky and hospital beds suddenly collapsing under their own weight. "And you should see the medical problems this causes," said Fandullah. "Really disturbing."
The Afghanistani Ministry of Universal Laws has been in disarray since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. American troops established a temporary "safe zone" in and around Kabul, but have been reluctant to extend an American presence farther into the country.
"We are here to assist Afghanistan in rebuilding, but would rather encourage the local legal and judiciary process to reconstitute itself than impose an American model," said Secretary of State Colin Powell. "As long as the process is democratic, of course."
The United States is renowned for its rigorous and uniform enforcement of the laws of physics, which is a significant contributing factor to its ability to continually produce much of the world's best scientific research. Most other countries, even relatively anarchic societies, generally enforce at least minimum standards of physical laws, although there is significant variation in some areas.
"The United States is somewhat hypocritical in this regard," said Afghan aid worker Jonathan Kern. "Lax or misguided enforcement of the laws of physics in developing nations helps maintain the dominance of the American high-tech sector. I mean, countries which routinely round off the value of pi to three on religious grounds are not going to develop competitive space programs or computer hardware."
Fluctuations in the laws of probability are also a significant impediment to the gambling industry in many nations. There is no indication as to what, if any, other laws are not being properly enforced in Zabol province, although frequent difficulties in maintaining radio communication by aid workers suggest that the speed of light may also be running into trouble.
The United Nations will be voting on whether to dispatch universal law enforcement personnel to the region later this week. Belgium has volunteered 600 troops for the mission. However, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte warned of a potential American veto for the mission.
"Let's see if they can figure it out for themselves," he suggested.