THE OPIUM KINGDOM
In 1999 the total opium production of Afghanistan reached over 4,000 tons a year. The Islamic Taliban regime did a keen effort to crack down on drug dealers and sentenced many of them to death with immediate execution. Indeed in the last year of Taliban in power in Afghanistan, in 2001, the opium production of Afghanistan was reduced under 2,700 tons a year. Most of the production was committed in the Northern Alliance territories. Many of the warlords of the Northern Alliance, such as Gen’ Rashid Dustum, the Afghani chief of staff prior to the Russian invasion in 1979, and Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Afghan President in the years 1992-1996, were at the same time, also powerful drug Barons. Much of the war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance was, basically, about the opium fields.
Prior to operation Absolute Justice in 12/2001 the Afghani drug fields, supposedly run by the Taliban, where used to incite against the Taliban as the main drug supplier of Europe.
Since Hamid Karzai came to power in early 2002, with drug barons in the Afghan government, the opium production almost tripled and is estimated as 8,200 tonnes in 2007, accounting for 93% of global production. Helmand and Kandahar provinces, where there is a strong presence of NATO-ISAF forces, are producing about 2/3 of the total Afghan opium production in regions where, under the Taliban, the poppy fields almost disappeared from the landscape are now covered with poppy plants everywhere financing the Taliban but, at the same time, local tribal chiefs and senior officials in the government (see – AFGHANISTAN’S OPIUM ). NATO-ISAF disregards the poppy production for the following reasons:
A. – The USA led coalition in Afghanistan understood well that most of the Afghani people do not care about the mambo-jambo of democracy as long as the government does not care about their own tribal and private business. Any move to ban or limit the poppy fields will ignite a large scale popular uprising, with the Taliban and government officials joining hand against the USA and any Western presence in Afghanistan.
B. – All the economy of Afghanistan and the main export production is dependent on the opium industry. A substantial move against the opium industry will cause a major economic crisis in Afghanistan.
C. – Most of the production is channelled to neighbour Iran, Pakistan, China and about 20% to central Asia republics; only a small quantity is finally landing in Europe which consumes drugs from many other sources in the world as well.
D. – Around 31% of the opium production in Afghanistan is directly shifted to Iran, which has caused considerable human and financial costs. The Iranian society is already crumbling from within due to an ongoing economic crisis, oppressing dictatorship, international sanctions and about 1.6 millions drug addicts and many millions drug users. Iran is doing a huge unsuccessful effort to stop or minimize the drug trafficking through its borders. Although there is not the slightest evidence that NATO-ISAF is somehow encouraging the flooding of Iran with drugs, there is also no evidence at all that NATO-ISAF tries to stop the transportations of drugs to Iran or make it more difficult. Certainly NATO-ISAF is not cooperating with Iran on that matter.
Today, under the protection of USA and NATO-ISAF, Afghanistan became the epicentre of world’s opium trade – the opium kingdom.
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