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United States of America, Chief Kingpin in the Afghanistan Heroin Trade?

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What we have is essentially a drug war in Afghanistan, and US forces are simply helping one side against the other.

Unbeknownst to American taxpayers, drug lords collaborate with the U.S. and Canadian officers on a daily basis.

This collaboration and alliance was forged by American forces during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and has endured and grown ever since. The drug lords have been empowered through U.S. money and arms to consolidate their drug business at the expense of drug-dealing rivals in other tribes, forcing some of them into alliance with the Taliban.

In short, the war in Afghanistan is largely, if not entirely, between armies run by heroin merchants, some aligned with the Americans, others aligned with the Taliban. Even worse, the Taliban appear to be gaining the upper hand in this Mafiosa-style gang war, the origins of which are directly rooted in U.S. policy.

U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol, while their rivals are placed on American hit lists.

If you're looking for the chief kingpin in the Afghanistan heroin trade, it's the United States. The American mission has devolved to a Mafiosi-style arrangement that poisons every military and political alliance entered into by the U.S. and its puppet government in Kabul. It is a gangster occupation, in which U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol, while their rivals are placed on American hit lists, marked for death or capture. As a result, Afghanistan has been transformed into an opium plantation that supplies 90 percent of the world's heroin.

An article in the current (December) issue of Harper's magazine explores the inner workings of the drug-infested U.S. occupation and it's near-total dependence on alliances forged with players in the heroin trade. The story centers on the town of Spin Boldak, on the southeastern border with Pakistan, gateway to the opium fields of Kandahar and Helmand provinces. Here the chief Afghan drug lord is also the head of the border patrol and the local militia. The author is an undercover U.S.-based journalist who was befriended by the drug lord's top operatives and then met with the U.S. and Canadian military officers who collaborate with the drug dealer on a daily basis.

Check out the following illustrative excerpts from the article by Canadian journalist Matthieu Aikins, writing in the December 2009 issue of Harper's. http://harpers.org/archive/2009/12/0082754

On the latest United Nations Department of Safety and Security map, which color-codes Afghanistan to denote levels of risk for U.N. operations, we were in a tiny island of "high" orange surrounded by a wide sea of "extreme" red. The orange island is Spin Boldak and the road to Kandahar city; the red sea stretches across most of the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, and Uruzgan, and farther to the southeast.

This schema is illustrative of four striking facts.

First and foremost, it depicts how a ferocious and increasingly sophisticated insurgency--the "neo-Taliban," as many now call them--has spread across the predominantly Pashtun south and southeast of Afghanistan.

Second, that red area we were in also corresponds with the indefinite deployment of 20,000 additional U.S. soldiers, sent here during the months leading up to the eighth anniversary of the 2001 invasion, in October. Intended to bolster the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a patchwork of different nations, the increase was a belated recognition of just how badly the country has fared after years of neglect and mismanagement.

Third, all the red regions on the UNDSS map serve as a rough approximation of the areas with opium under cultivation, representing a billion-dollar industry whose tentacles grip both the neo-Taliban and the fledgling Afghan state, from foot soldier to government minister.

And last, our little island of "high" orange in the sea of "extreme" red is Colonel Razik's private domain.

Together, these four facts--the intensifying insurgency, the massive deployment of international troops and assistance, the opium, and Razik's relatively secure territory--go a long way toward explaining why an uneducated thirty-year-old warlord remains firmly entrenched as an ISAF ally and drug trafficker at a crucial border crossing like Spin Boldak.

This Afghan-Pakistani border region has long been awash in opium, which is grown in Afghanistan and then generally smuggled west to the Balkans, via Iran and Turkey, or shipped out of the port of Karachi to the Gulf states and Africa. The trade boomed during the Eighties, when both the CIA and the Pakistani government were happy to turn a blind eye to the drug operations of the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, since it helped fund the war against the invading Soviet Union. After the Soviets left, the drugs remained, and since then opium production in Afghanistan has increased fourteen-fold, from around 500 tons in the mid-1980s to 6,900 tons this year. Recent counternarcotics efforts have dramatically reduced cultivation in the north and east of the country, and so both cultivation and trafficking have shifted to the south, where security is most tenuous.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)
 

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Phamaceuticals utlize more opium than street level... by Hoss Hoss on Friday, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:54:06 AM
History prof at Tufts says: "Afghanistan has acqu... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Dec 5, 2009 at 2:44:49 AM
History prof at Tufts says: "Afghanistan has acqu... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Dec 5, 2009 at 2:45:30 AM