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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Inspector General Warns that with Opium Production Skyrocketing, Afghanistan Could become "a Narco-Criminal State"

Presumably, you're reading this and are capable of rationalizing and deductive reasoning. Whether you exercise those God-given blessings is up to you.

Can't even the most naive who knows only the last ten years of American history conclude the Inspector General of the U.S. is pulling a fast one on you?

Didn't we go into Afghanistan following 911 to 'fight terrorism', destroy Al Qaeda, and get bin Laden? That's what we were led to believe by our government and media. [whether the terrorists came here because we're over there is another matter].

But, were those really the objectives of our invasion of another sovereign country which posed no threat to our national security? 

On the other hand, seeing that we are going to have US troops in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) for "extended stays" we believe our presence is to ensure the security and profitable cultivation of opium for the criminal corporate drug cartel. Afterall, aren't our troops going into these non-threatening countries and continents to grab the resources for our corporate and banking cabalists - - it certainly appears so to this 'deductive reasoner'. "Fighting terrorism" is a lie that is slipping away from rational belief, but US taxpayers still get the protection bill for "defense".

Inspector General Warns that with Opium Production Skyrocketing, Afghanistan Could become "a Narco-Criminal State"

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The United States’ nation-building effort in Afghanistan could turn out to be a complete failure because of its inability to stem opium production, which has expanded so much that the drug trade may come to dominate the war-torn nation in the coming years.

John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), painted a bleak picture for Congress this week about the $10 billion investment in Afghanistan’s counternarcotics operations.

“Afghan farmers are growing more opium poppies today than at any time in their modern history,” Sopko told the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. Despite the “mammoth investment” of American dollars and manpower, “more land in Afghanistan is under poppy cultivation today than it was when the United States overthrew the Taliban in 2002.”

This means the Taliban is flush with cash, due to insurgents using the opium trade to finance their war against the U.S. and the Afghan government. The country’s poppy fields are responsible for more than $150 million a year in revenue for Islamic militants, according to James L. Capra, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations, who provided written testimony to the caucus.

“The Taliban is involved in taxing opium poppy farmers; operating processing laboratories; moving narcotics; taxing narcotics transporters...[and] providing security to poppy fields, drug labs, and opium bazaars,” Capra said.

Opium is becoming such a powerful force in Afghanistan—which produces 90% of the world supply of this drug—that it could wipe out all of the progress made by the U.S. intervention over the last twelve years.

“In the opinion of almost everyone I spoke with, the situation in Afghanistan is dire with little prospect for improvement in 2014 or beyond,” Sopko said.

“All of the fragile gains we have made over the last twelve years on women’s issues, health, education, rule of law, and governance are now, more than ever, in jeopardy of being wiped out by the narcotics trade which not only supports the insurgency, but also feeds organized crime and corruption,” he added.

The head of SIGAR concluded his testimony with this ominous warning:
“The people I spoke with in Afghanistan in my last few trips talked about two possible outcomes following the 2014 transition in Afghanistan: a successful modern state, or an insurgent state. However, there is a third possibility: a narco-criminal state. Absent effective counternarcotics programs and Afghan political will to seriously tackle this grave problem, that third outcome may become a reality.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff

To Learn More:
Future U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Afghanistan (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) (pdf)
The Looming Narco-State in Afghanistan (by D.B. Grady, The Atlantic)
Afghanistan's Narcotics Problems Grow Worse (by R. Jeffrey Smith and Mattie Quinn, Center for Public Integrity)