Download this essay PDF Introduction As heroin consumption recently increased around the globe, newspapers reported a similar rise in opium cultivation in Afghanistan, which produces around 90 percent of the heroin consumed worldwide. According to the United Nations, inpoppy cultivation reached its highest level since the s and many studies foresee that the country will remain the primary source of opium in the coming years. The high level of corruption which permeates the Afghan system offers only a partial explanation for the failure. Opium cultivation is such a profitable business that offering attractive alternatives to farmers is difficult and costly.
Afghan opium smokers Photo Credit: Lizette Potgieter This article originally appeared at TomDispatch. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.
In Octoberthe U. The results were swift and stunning. Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces that the U. Inaccording to the U. McCoy, who began his career in the Vietnam War era by writing The Politics of Heroina now-classic book on the CIA and the heroin trade that the Agency tried to suppress and who has written on the subject of drugs and Afghanistan before for this sitenow offers a truly monumental look at opium and the U.
McCoy After fighting the longest war in its history, the United States stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How can this be possible? So dismal is the prospect for stability in Afghanistan in that the Obama White House has recently cancelled a planned further withdrawal of its forces and will leave an estimated 10, troops in the country indefinitely.
Were you to cut through the Gordian knot of complexity that is the Afghan War, you would find that in the American failure there lies the greatest policy paradox of the century: On the other hand, in the almost 15 years of continuous combat since the U.
As opium production surged from a minimal tons to a monumental 8, in the first five years of U. There are no courts. There is no taxation. No weapon is illegal Hashish and opium are often on display.
In andjust as the CIA effort was beginning to ramp up, a network of heroin laboratories opened along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier.
Inside Pakistan, the number of heroin addicts went from near zero yes, zero in to 5, in and 1, by -- a rate of addiction so high the U. There was fallout in term of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished.
The Soviets left Afghanistan. Lying at the northern reaches of the seasonal monsoon, where rain clouds arrive already squeezed dry, arid Afghanistan never recovered from the unprecedented devastation it suffered in the years of the first American intervention.
As that war wound down between andthe Washington-led alliance essentially abandoned the country, failing either to sponsor a peace settlement or finance reconstruction. Washington simply turned elsewhere as a vicious civil war broke out in a country with 1.
During the years of vicious civil strife that followed, Afghan farmers raised the only crop that ensured instant profits, the opium poppy. The opium harvest, having multiplied twentyfold to 2, tons during the covert-war era of the s, would double during the civil war of the s.
In addition, opium merchants alone were capable of accumulating capital rapidly enough to be able to provide much-needed cash advances to poor poppy farmers that equaled more than half their annual income.
That credit would prove critical to the survival of many poor villagers.The Global Afghan Opium Trade: A Threat Assessment, the ity for the global drug problem; heroin-consuming countries need to do more to provide treatment, care and skilled field research staff in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia who collect data on the Afghan opiate trade.
However, in , action against the drug trade in Afghanistan became very complicated, as drugs now permeated all parts of Afghan politics, society and economy.
Facing the increase in opium cultivation and its consequences on the situation in Afghanistan and at home, the international community was forced to take action.
Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in the Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, Afghanistan's opium production surged in to record levels, despite 12 years of international efforts to wean the country off the narcotics trade, according to a report released Wednesday by the Founded: Sep 18, That’s right: The War in Afghanistan saw the country’s practically dead opium industry expanded dramatically.
By , Afghanistan was producing twice as much opium as it did in By , Afghanistan was the source of .
Afghanistan has been the world's leading illicit opium producer since (excluding the year ). Afghanistan's opium poppy harvest produces more than 90% of illicit heroin globally, and more than 95% of the European supply.
More land is used for opium in Afghanistan than is used for coca cultivation in Latin America. In , 93% of the non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates on the world market.
And perhaps worse, the Afghan Taliban has become a “drug mafia,” using opium and heroin production to finance their operation. Yet few are aware of the deadly nexus between the illicit drug trade and terrorism in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif highlighted this dangerous nexus just last week and vowed to .