Covington Police Officer Lance Benjamin received orders for deployment in Afghanistan. Chief Tim Lentz released the following statement late last week:
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce Officer Lance Benjamin’s last day of work is today. Lance received his orders from the Army and tomorrow will leave for a 400 day tour in Afghanistan. Please pray for Lance and his family while he is gone. We are so proud of what Lance has meant to this department are even more proud of his commitment to the Army and his desire to defend not only our community but our country.
Again, please keep Lance, and all of our service members in your prayers as they defend the freedoms we hold so near and dear. We look forward to Lance’s return to the department in a little over a year. God Bless, Chief Tim Lentz”
The CIA World Factbook: Afghanistan
The following information is excerpted from the CIA World Factbook online at cia.gov:
“Afghanistan is gradually recovering from decades of conflict. Before 2014, the economy had sustained nearly a decade of strong growth, largely because of international assistance. Since 2014, however, the economy has slowed, in large part because of the withdrawal of nearly 100,000 foreign troops that had artificially inflated the country’s economic growth.
Despite improvements in life expectancy, incomes, and literacy since 2001, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Corruption, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government’s difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world.
Despite gains toward building a stable central government, the Taliban remains a serious challenge for the Afghan Government in almost every province. The Taliban still considers itself the rightful government of Afghanistan, and it remains a capable and confident insurgent force despite its last two spiritual leaders being killed; it continues to declare that it will pursue a peace deal with Kabul only after foreign military forces depart.
Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 7 percent, to a record 211,000 hectares in 2014 from 198,000 hectares in 2013, while eradication dropped sharply; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium. Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem.”