Commander Blames NATO for Increased Drug Production in Afghanistan

Introduction – Nov 12, 2012

It cannot be emphasised enough: drugs were the real reason for the invasion of Afghanistan and not to stop the production of narcotics but quite the contrary.
In May 2001, the New York Times reported that the Taliban, having outlawed the growing of poppies the year before, had all but shut down the country’s drug’s trade.
Prior to that Afghanistan had produced three-quarters of the world’s opium. Although the Taliban’s ruling briefly caused a dramatic drop in opium production, that was to change with the NATO led invasion a matter of months later.
With the toppling of the Taliban Afghanistan’s drugs trade was quickly restored and soon surpassed previous levels. By 2008 drugs production in the country reached record levels.
Then from 2010 to 2011 the amount of opium produced in Afghanistan increased from 3.6 million kg to 5.8 million kg, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Its December 2011 Opium Survey noted that the total area under opium cultivation had risen from 123,000 hectares in 2010 to 131,000 hectares in 2011.
So if the restoration of the drugs trade had been the real reason for the invasion of Afghanistan then the invasion has been a massive success.
Despite civilian deahts, coalition casualties and the havoc wrought by war, the invasion has achieved its aims. It was never about restoring democracy or overthrowing despots anyway.
Like the Opium Wars fought by the British Empire over a century before, the Afghan invasion was really about restoring the country’s lucrative drugs trade.

Commander Blames NATO for Increased Drug Production in Afghanistan

Fars News Agency – Nov 12, 2012


An Afghan farmer collects raw opium from poppies in Balkh province, Afghanistan. Heroin production in the country has increased significantly in recent years. Click to enlarge

Commander of the anti-narcotics squad of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police General Ali Moayyedi blamed the NATO forces for increased drug plantation, production and trafficking in Afghanistan.

“The presence of the trans-regional forces in Afghanistan means the threat of drug production and trafficking will continue,” Moayyedi said in Tehran on Monday, adding that “the most important way to end the international dilemma is the withdrawal of those forces from Afghanistan”.

“The presence of the NATO and other foreign forces in Afghanistan has not decreased the production of drugs and has, rather, greatly increased it,” he added.

Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world’s number one opium and drug producer. Iran’s geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers. Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 89 percent of the world’s total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

Afghan and western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have “overlooked” the drug problem since invading the country 10 years ago.

In relevant remarks last week, Head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov also blamed the US for a major part of the narcotics smuggled from Afghanistan to his country, saying that the volume of the drug cargos destined for Russia will decrease after the withdrawal of the US forces from the war-stricken country.

“I am convinced that the flow of (Afghan) drugs to Russia will decrease as soon as Americans withdraw from Afghanistan,” Ivanov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Ivanov, who had also previously criticized the anti-drug measures taken by the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, strongly hailed the US withdrawal scheduled for the end of 2014.

He also said that more than 100,000 people aged 15-34 died of drug abuse in Russia in 2011.

Ivanov said earlier that 30 tons of drugs, mostly from Afghanistan in the form of heroin, are trafficked into Russia annually.


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