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Ear to the Ground

Taliban Resurgence Produces Record Opium Harvest in Afghanistan

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Posted on Sep 2, 2006

Opium production in Afghanistan is at the highest level ever recorded and shows an increase of 50 percent from last year. The increase in opium cultivation is a result of the resurgence of Taliban rebels.  The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said in a statement: ?The southern part of Afghanistan was displaying the ominous hallmarks of incipient collapse, with large-scale drug cultivation and trafficking, insurgency and terrorism, crime and corruption.?

NYT:
September 3, 2006
Opium Harvest at Record Level in Afghanistan
By CARLOTTA GALL

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 2 ? Afghanistan?s opium harvest this year has reached the highest levels ever recorded, showing an increase of almost 50 percent from last year, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said Saturday in Kabul.

He described the figures as ?alarming? and ?very bad news? for the Afghan government and international donors who have poured millions of dollars into programs to reduce the poppy crop since 2001.

He said the increase in cultivation was fueled by the resurgence of Taliban rebels in the south, the country?s prime opium growing region. As the insurgents have stepped up their attacks, they have also encouraged and profited from the drug trade, promising protection to growers if they worked to expand their opium operations.

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By Scott, September 3, 2006 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why should it strike anyone as strange that the Taliban would switch tracks on heroin? The US dealt drugs to achieve their goals why shouldn’t the Taliban?

The enemy of their enemies…

Sure its immoral but after all this is war right?

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By Bob Everclear, September 3, 2006 at 3:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Misconseptions do to media lies and propaganda…

When the Taliban were in control Opium and heroin production came to a virtual stand still. After the Americans invaded and occupied Afghanistan it quickly became the # 2 producer of opium and heroin in the world. (CIA’s dark ops budget money)Only a fool would believe that the Taliban are responsible for the sharp increase in opium and heroin production within the country that they fought so hard in the first place to eliminate from their homeland…

Whom is the real bad guy now?

Bob Everclear,Journalist whom has been there and has seen what has relly been going on…

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By MattNet, September 2, 2006 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course this is good news for the CIA drug-running operation.  Without product how would they fund all those black ops?

Get ready for cheap H on the streets.

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By R. A. Earl, September 2, 2006 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is hilarious!

A bunch of relatively unsophisticated “natives” in broad daylight produce record crops while the governments and other agencies, with highly sophisticated detection equipment, blow millions of our “War on Drugs” dollars trying to stop them.

I wonder if it’s occurred to anyone in those “agencies” that perhaps whatever they’ve been doing since 2001 DOESN’T WORK? Likely not, because I’m willing to bet a pound of poppy pus they’ll continue to use the same tactics next year, with exactly the same results.

The law of supply and demand will kick in… not only will there be a lot more heroin available, it will be cheaper. There’s an upside to almost everything!

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By strangedays, September 2, 2006 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess this guy is there on the ground, but this doesn’t seem to jive to the news I keep hearing.  I don’t doubt that heroin production is up.  But its the bit about “taliban rebels” being responsible that seems to the the strangely off-key note in this article.

The history of recent years is that when the Taliban ruled the country, heroin production went down.  In their own authoritarian, religious fundamentalist way, the Taliban were rather successful at vastly knocking down Afghani heroin production.

Everything I’ve read for the last few years says its been the removal of the Taliban and the return of the rule of the warlords that has raised heroin production.  Ie, that its been precisely in the regions where the Taliban was thrown out of power is where heroin production went up.

So this news article strikes me as very strange.  Then I look up at the byline and see its from the NYT, which I wouldn’t trust to report that the sun rises in the east without checking it, and this seems like a very dubious article.

Anyone got any real facts to support this?  Stuff like details showing that its regions where the taliban rebels are successful are the regions where heroin production is up?  Or that the virtuous warlords the US has put in power in other regions have somehow switched directions and are now driving down heroin production in their areas?

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By rachelle, September 2, 2006 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s only one major problem with that article. The Taliban is the *enemy* of the WARLORDS who are responsible for the opium trade. These warlords don’t give a damn about Islam, all they seek is power and control. Someone should tell Carlotta Gall to get her facts straight! How about starting with “Crossing the Rubicon” by Michael C. Ruppert, who clearly shows this to be the case.

Matter of fact, the Taliban had borderline succeeded in closing the opium trade until the U.S. moved into Afghanistan. It makes me so mad to read this kind of distortion of facts, that I want to scream: Why don’t you do your reading, Carlotta? You have some gall indeed!

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By kevin99999, September 2, 2006 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The talibans have survived and won. The U.S. has lost, all because of idiots in the whie house and elsewhere called ‘necons’.

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