Coalition Not Ready To End Afghan Opium Trade Says USA Today

In another thinly veiled admission that Western forces are tolerating and in fact helping to cultivate the heroin producing poppy plant in Afghanistan, USA Today have published an article that states production “will go down only slightly this year”, which would imply there’s no real effort to stop it.

According to the article:
Reducing poppy cultivation is considered critical to undermining the insurgency because of the strong ties between drug trafficking and the Taliban. The Taliban generated $155 million from the drug trade in 2009, according to the United Nations. Afghanistan supplies about 90% of the world’s opium.

However the piece fails to address why the crops are being grown and who else might be benefiting.

According to 2006 UN figures, the contribution of the drug trade to the Afghan economy was 2.7 billion, but more than 95 percent of the revenues generated by this lucrative contraband actually goes to business syndicates, organized crime and banking and financial institutions [1]. Remember this is a crop that’s shipped out and sold all over the world, thus special interests go far beyond the farmers and Taliban.

In fact the Taliban are a deeply religious sect that were initially opposed to drug trafficking. Before the Afghan invasion, Taliban leaders were being praised for virtually wiping out opium production. They saw it as “un-Islamic”.

It was only after the West invaded in 2001 that poppy cultivation went through the roof. It’s claimed the Taliban were that devastated by the campaign that their last resort to raise funds to defend their land was to go back to the poppy.

Geraldo Rivera reporting for Fox News highlighted that not only are the US troops tolerating this, they are actually helping! Although it “grinds” in the Marine’s “gut”, he admitted to providing the Taliban security and resources for the operation. The excuse? “…It’s part of their culture”, which is patently absurd because the crop was previously banned under the Taliban.

If we’re supposed to be fighting a war against a group who are funded by Opium, what sense does it make to help them cultivate that Opium?

Then there’s Hamid Karzi, the coalition backed president of Afghanistan. The guy who is supposed to be helping the cause, and who will be handed the country when foreign troops leave. According to the UN’s former no. 2 official in the region, Karzi is a Heroin user and this may explain some of his erratic behavior [2].

The next big problem is his brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, who was recently assassinated. He himself was involved in the Opium trade, having been linked to drug seizures and caught releasing a truck full of heroin that had been impounded [3]. It was then revealed that Ahmed Wali was on the payroll of the CIA for the best part of 8 years.[4]

The President and his brother are hooked on their enemy’s crop and the Western troops are helping to grow it!

The CIA’s involvement here may not be by accident. In August 1996, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb stunned the world with a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News reporting the results of his year-long investigation into the roots of the crack cocaine epidemic in America, specifically in Los Angeles. The series, titled “Dark Alliance,” revealed that for the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and funnelled millions in drug profits to the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras. It became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

It would not be at all surprising if the CIA are still involved in the trade in Afghanistan. In fact Peter Dale Scott claims the first Opium fields of Afghanistan were backed by the agency.

The first reality is that the extent of CIA involvement in and responsibility for the global drug traffic is a topic off limits for serious questioning in policy circles, electoral campaigns, and the mainstream media. Those who have challenged this taboo, like the journalist Gary Webb, have often seen their careers destroyed in consequence.

The first local drug lords on an international scale during the Soviet/Afghan war – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abu Rasul Sayyaf – were in fact launched internationally as a result of massive and ill-advised assistance from the CIA, in conjunction with the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. While other local resistance forces were accorded second-class status, these two clients of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, precisely because they lacked local support, pioneered the use of opium and heroin to build up their fighting power and financial resources. Both, moreover, became agents of salafist extremism, attacking the indigenous Sufi-influenced Islam of Afghanistan. And ultimately both became sponsors of al Qaeda.[5]

Then there’s the CIA protection rings in Mexico, and the time the CIA allowed a ton of cocaine to be shipped into Miami International Airport, or the CIA’s drug trafficking unit in Haiti, or the dirty dealings in Panama.[6]

Is it all just business as usual?

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