Afghan H-bomb: Record opium harvest, billions burn in ‘war on drugs’

Introduction — April 2, 2014

It cannot be overemphasised: drugs were the real reason Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban.

Poppy fields in Helmand Province. Click to enlarge

In 2000, the year before the U.S. led invasion the then ruling Taliban banned the cultivation of poppies as a sin against Islam. By spring of the following year Afghanistan’s once thriving drugs trade was all but dead. In less than one growing season the edict brought to a close a narcotics industry that had formerly produced three-quarters of the world’s opium.
Or so it seemed.
By the end of 2001, the U.S. led invasion also brought a revival of Afghanistan’s drugs trade. From that point on Afghanistan’ narcotics trade went from strength to strength. So that from having produced virtually no narcotics in the final year of the Taliban’s rule, Afghanistan is now producing over 80% of the world’s opium and heroin.
This is the real legacy of the U.S. led invasion. Not “freedom” or even the eradication of the Taliban, who will remain a potent threat for whoever sits in Kabul when Coalition forces finally withdraw at the end of the year.
Apart from the many thousands of wounded, maimed and dead, the real legacy of the U.S. led invasion is a revived drugs trade and millions of drug addicted Afghans. According to a recent U.N. estimate between 3% and 4% of Afghans are now addicted to drugs.
This is what the U.S. led invasion has really brought Afghanistan. Transforming it in little more than a decade from a nation that was well on the way to becoming free of narcotics to one of the most drug dependent nations on Earth.
So the invasion of Afghanistan wasn’t just an exercise in futility. Above all else it helped revive Afghanistan’s moribund narcotics trade.
The British Empire had done pretty much the same thing during the Opium War, when China prohibited the sale of opium imported from India. Britain had been trading the narcotic from its Indian Crown Colony for Chinese silk and tea. However, recognising the growing number of addicts it produced the Chinese had outlawed the trade and war followed.
Being the pre-eminent global power at the time assured Britain of victory and a continuation of the opium trade
Having learned from that episode, the U.S. seems intent on using drugs to subdue a potentially fractious population. It is no coincidence that whenever and wherever the U.S. military has turned its attention — from the opium fields of South East Asia to the coca groves of South America — a booming drugs trade has followed and not just in the immediate vicinity.
Afghanistan is, in the words the head of Russia’s anti-drug service, now a “planet-scale” problem. According to government statistics, some 2.5 million Russians are now addicted to drugs, 90% hooked on heroin that has flooded in from Afghanistan during the past decade.
It’s a simple equation: rather than face Russia on the battlefield, it’s easier and more profitable for the U.S. to undermine it with cheap drugs from a “liberated” Afghanistan.
So this isn’t a localised problem; it goes hand-in-hand with a New World Order that crosses borders and subjugates peoples with either brute military power or the beguilling enticements of narcotics.

Afghan H-bomb: Record opium harvest, billions burn in ‘war on drugs’

Russia Today — April 2, 2014

Finding a solution to the thriving heroin production in Afghanistan has been on the back burner ever since the Americans occupied the country. The new Afghan president who will be elected next weekend will have to battle record opium harvests.

Since the US came down on the Taliban and occupied Afghanistan in 2001, heroin production in the country has surged almost 40-fold since 2013. One year ago the estimated number of heroin addicts dying due to Afghan heroin in the preceding decade surpassed well over one million deaths worldwide.

Last year, Afghanistan harvested a record quantity of opium. The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board maintains that Afghan poppy fields now occupy a record 209,000 hectares, a 36 percent increase from 2013.

Today more than half of the provinces in Afghanistan are growing opium poppies. Reports say Afghanistan is responsible for production of around 80 percent of the world’s opium and heroin.

Heroin takes toll on Afghan society

Continues …

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