For the third year in a row, NATO-occupied Afghanistan has grown a record number of opium poppies. According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium crops in Afghanistan occupied unprecedented areas of land in 2013, outstripping previous records. Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, particularly in western and southern parts of the country, opium plantations occupied a total of more than 209,000 hectares, exceeding the previous year’s figure by 36 percent.
Officially, the cultivation of opium poppies – the main component for the production of heroin – is forbidden by law in Afghanistan, although the number of provinces where they are being grown is increasing steadily. Opium production reached the 5,500 tonne mark, showing a 49 percent increase in comparison to 2012. Western propaganda blames opium production on the Taliban, or representatives of the regime who are immersed in the drug trade, but these allegations do not tally with what is really going on.
NATO command says that the Taliban «opposed drugs initially, but now either grow drugs themselves, or impose a tax on crops harvested by farmers». Taliban leaders, however, have stated repeatedly that the Afghan Mujahideen are waging a jihad against the occupiers, and that Islam strictly forbids both drugs and alcohol. And it should be said that fanatical Islamists follow this rule to the letter.
As far as Western puppets like Karzai and those around him are concerned, however, it seems like there are more than enough grounds for such accusations. In October 2013, a scandal broke out in Kabul when, during inspections in Afghanistan, 65 high-ranking intelligence officers were revealed to be… heroin addicts! A few years before this, it emerged that the CIA was financing Ahmed Wali Karzai, the younger brother of Hamid Karzai, who for more than eight years was a leading opium dealer in the region.
US researchers maintain that the opium trade in America is being controlled by the networks and cartels that were exposed during the Iran-Contra affair and that have not stopped their activities since the 1980s: «The pillars of the Karzai regime rely on support from the drugs trade, and for us they are untouchable. We have turned Afghanistan into the largest supplier of heroin, and this has happened under the control of the CIA», these researchers observe.
According to information provided by major media outlets (The Daily Mail, The New York Times, Pakistan Daily etc.), the largest suppliers of heroin to the global market are: Izzatullah Wasifi, Governor of the Farah Province, chief of Afghanistan’s General Independent Administration of Anti Corruption whose duties include preventing opium cultivation, and a childhood friend of Hamid Karzai who was arrested by the US authorities back in July 1987 for the illegal trafficking of high-grade heroin (!); Jamil Karzai, head of the National Youth Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, a member of the Afghan National Security Council, and a nephew of Hamid Karzai who has business dealings with Haji Mohammad Osman, the owner of a drug laboratory in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province (in the small region of Damgal); Abdul Qayum Karzai, a member of the lower house of the National Assembly of Afghanistan, a former employee of the American company Unocal, and a brother of Hamid Karzai who is the biggest drug baron in Kandahar; Shah Wali Karzai, a brother of Hamid Karzai who has crop fields in the provinces of Kandahar, Nangarhar, Urozgan, Zabul, Paktia, Paktika and Helmand; and dozens of representatives of executive and legislative authorities, as well as officials from the Afghan Ministry of Internal Affairs.
If we believe the media in the West, then it is Western puppets like the Karzai family and their minions who are to blame for the rapid growth of heroin addiction in the world. However, only 20 percent of the opium poppies are grown in the northern and central districts of Afghanistan that are controlled by the Karzai government. The rest of this lucrative poison is being grown in the southern provinces of the country on the border with Pakistan, in areas controlled by NATO forces. The main centre of drug production is Helmand Province, which is under the guardianship of the British.
Instead of helping Afghan farmers to switch over to alternative crops, Western «peacekeepers» are just confining themselves to discussions about why drug production is increasing and, according to evidence from local and international sources, are themselves actively taking part in the business. Some analysts are attributing this to the fact that the US is avoiding a potential conflict with drug barons, whose political support is important for the existence of the Karzai government. The US, however, is ignoring the close link between the drugs trade, growing instability in Afghanistan, and the increase in terrorist activities in the region. Put simply, even if we believe that the US is therefore providing drug barons with the freedom to carry on with their activities in exchange for the political support of Karzai’s government, they are essentially undermining the objectives under the pretext of which they invaded Afghanistan – the country’s peace and security.
Western experts like Thomas Ruttig, co-director of independent research centre Afghanistan Analysts Network, observes that «with the forthcoming withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, pressure on poppy farmers from the authorities has reduced noticeably. The report by the United Nations states, among other things, that in 2013, the authorities destroyed 24 percent less crops than previously». The result: Afghanistan is firmly establishing itself as the world’s biggest manufacturer of opium, producing more than 90 percent of the world’s output in 2013. While three years ago the UN observed that poppies were being grown in just 14 of the country’s 34 regions, at the beginning of 2014 this number had already reached 20. Large opium plantations have even re-appeared in northern Afghan provinces like Balkh and Faryab, which were publicly declared to have lost their status as opium producers. These Afghan provinces neighbour two CIS countries – Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
At the same time, a process is underway to militarise international drug groups concentrated in the region. Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FSKN), says: «We can see that armed groups are a segment that is sprouting from the drug cartels in northern Afghanistan. These groups have their own fighting units… In Afghanistan, the rapid militarisation of drug groups is currently underway. They are all already well-armed. They have small arms, firearms, grenades and grenade launchers, and they use them regularly. The budget of drug groups like these is about USD 18 billion. That is the amount of revenue drug production provides them with, which is why groups like these have become a serious factor in the formation of the political, economic and criminal situation within Central Asian states».
For a number of years now, America has also been using drugs to continue its cold war against post-Soviet states through the destruction of their human potential. On the eve of the withdrawal of NATO occupation forces from Afghanistan, they are encouraging drug production by every means possible, and helping the war move into its hot phase by using the drug mafia’s armed groups that are concentrated in the southern underbelly of the former USSR, that they have provided with arms, and that are hiding behind Islamist slogans…