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Ear to the Ground

Drug Trade Blooms in Afghanistan

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Posted on Aug 27, 2007
poppies
guardian.co.uk

More than 93 percent of the world’s opiates are now grown in Afghanistan, with an opium crop that has doubled in the last two years. According to the executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, “No other country beside China in the 19th Century ever had such a large amount of land dedicated to illegal activities.”


BBC:

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime report says the amount of opium produced there has doubled in the last two years.

It says Helmand province is now the biggest single drug-producing area in the world, surpassing whole countries such as Colombia.

Afghanistan now accounts for more than 93% of the world’s opiates.

Despite billions of dollars of aid and tens of thousands of international troops, the report says 193,000 hectares of opium poppies are being grown in Afghanistan.

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By DMcD, August 28, 2007 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What the hell is going on here ? Where’s the so-called “War on Drugs”—where’s the god-damn “Drug Czar”—where is Congress on this ?—why isn’t this outrage being pursued by the mainstream media ?—why is this being allowed ?

Every “reasonable” person agrees that this is a completely unacceptable situation , yet it is being handled like a 2nd page story. There has “never” been a better opportunity than now , to deal a deathblow to this poisonous industry. We have free reign over this country (Afghanistan) and its easily within our military capabilities to put an end to opium farming for decades to come.             

This product finances Osama and his murderers and kills thousands of Americans each year (more than the World Trade Center). In a very real way (this is not an abstract), Osama is still killing our people , every day , with this product. They wanted so much to find the so-called WMD’s—- well , if they bothered to take a look right under their noses—they’d see these 500,000 acres of “Poppy fields”. If that isn’t a WMD , I don’t know what is.             

God damnit , do something about it.

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By rowdy, August 28, 2007 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

the u.n. refers to poppy growing as “illegal activities”. did any government of afghanistan ever sign any treaty saying they wouldn’t grow poppies? even if they did this “illegal behaviour”,is nothing compared to the treaties this country has violated. besides, who gives a flying fuck what the u.n. says. bush sure as hell doesn’t.

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By bibisad, August 28, 2007 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are in afghanistan because of the pipeline and poppy. What would big Pharma, hospitals or the cia do without it?

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, August 28, 2007 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Thanks, EoS, for the info. I was just too slow to bother looking it up and too quick with my glibness!

I’m sure the Afghanis, when left alone, manage their country and its resources as well as any other group. I can’t imagine the chaos and uproar and dysfunction if any of the “western” nations had to suffer under one occupation after the other with all the interference and ignorance that comes with it.

But the picture we get from the media is so one-sided - all negative, or if it isn’t complete desolation and destruction, a level of existence just barely above “the cave.” Most of us in the west know diddley-squat about life in Afghanistan but that sure doesn’t stop us from interfering, meddling and patronizing this ancient civilization. It’s embarrassingly disgusting.

As far as poppies and opiates go - I say good for them. There should be a great LEGITIMATE trade in these products. If there isn’t, where lies the fault?

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kelt65's avatar

By kelt65, August 28, 2007 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Thus, the so called “war on terror” is an absolute success. Drugs and money is what it’s all about.

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By I forgot, August 28, 2007 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where can i get some?

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By Emily Anne, August 28, 2007 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

Ah, the fruits of the war against terror - how sweet it is.

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By 1drees, August 28, 2007 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

YOU guys are partly right, Afghnistan is far far from being the agricultural lands that most people presume agricultural lands to be. its rocky and mountainous with some areas suitable for certain fruity trees and fruits. and then there is also the land quite suitable for poppy.
Traditionally speaking the Afghans have consumed a poppy product themselves which they call “charas” which is Cannabis, to you all. the Afghans are quiet used to it, almost as the way the west is used to Alcohols.
During the Soviet-Afghan war, if we can call it that, the WEST was funding the war through drug profits. and that was when the afghans learnt of a little chemistry which they would have never really discovered themselves as they mainly used to consume “charas”, BUT all the “LABS” were operated and supplied neccesary chemicals by nonAfghans, who were a bit educated in the sciences of chemistry and marketing unlike the local afghans who were plain too simple coz they are plain uneducated, so the external help was the COCAINE IMPORT AGENCY.
Now comming to the present day MSM news of today, what I can share is that a couple of months back, it was only either the Independent or the Times online (of uk) that reported the news that the UK TROOPS had silently given a go ahead to the farmers to plant poppy and that was followed by a protest by Karzai the following day, which of course went unheard too.
AND today i see all MSM splashing a surprise over a bumper crop, i mean they initiated it, authorised it and then were even around to observe it comming up and that certainly dont need the UNO to tell what is going on.
Actually Columbia is being replaced by a new location for the same produce that brings in massive profits. PROFITS TO ANYONE I DONT MIND BUT VICTIMISING PEOPLE LIKE THAT IS CRUEL AND THEN PLAYING INNOCENT AND UNAWARE IS DEVILISH.

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By Enemy of State, August 27, 2007 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

Actually RAE, Afghanistan recieves a fair amount of precipitation, mostly in the mountains, and mostly in winter. Only irrigated land will grow crops. But it was enough to support a population of roughly 25 million.

  Our real dilemma is that we can allow the (mostly Southern) Afghani farmers to make a good living selling opium, or we can try to force them to plant other crops, which pay only a small fraction as much. That later option basically drives them into the arms of the Taliban. So we can fight our war-on-drugs, or we cam fight our war against radical Islam, but we can’t do both.

  Now if you look at the history of drugs. When the Western world first discovered the Opiates, they were considered to be miracle drugs. Alleviating severe pain, and giving an energy boost. It was only after widespread abuse, and demonization of the way lower class and disfavored ethnic groups used drugs, that our present war on drugs mentality developed. So I guess we have a choice to make.

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By RAE, August 27, 2007 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

What astounds me is that they can grow ANYTHING in Afghanistan!

I can’t recall seeing photos of any arable land - just piles of rocks and sand.

Good place for a war. What could possibly be damaged?

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