US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Afghanistan is a country plagued by all kinds of crises. From the outside it may seem that it was precisely these crises that provoked the introduction of foreign troops into this country. However, among the main contradictions at the national and external levels is the problem of Afghan drugs, because just to combat it and terrorism, the United States managed to achieve the introduction of military contingents of dozens of Western countries into Afghanistan.
As the UN Office on Drugs and Crime informs, almost 100 thousand people die every year due to the increase in drug trafficking. Drug smuggling also enriches terrorists and strengthens extremist groups that threaten the peace and security of civilians. In such a situation, the only way to combat the production and illicit trafficking of drugs of Afghan origin is to consolidate the efforts of the entire world community.
Almost 16 years have passed since the beginning of the introduction of several thousand military personnel of foreign countries into Afghanistan, however, according to official and unofficial data, the level of production and drug trafficking has increased more than 100 times compared to 2001, when the United States began the fight against Afghan opium. In 2015, the production of drugs amounted to about 3,300 tons, but this year, according to official statistics, it reached 4,800 tons. The massive level of production and smuggling of drugs not only creates colossal social and political problems in Afghanistan itself, but also increases the concern of other states in the region, and in particular Iran, which suffers from this more than others.
The growth of highly lucrative drug production in Afghanistan occurred even after the collapse of the pro-Soviet government, that is, at a time when the state structures of this country actually collapsed. Throughout the entire period of the war against the invaders of the communist government of the USSR, the production of narcotic substances spread like a cancerous tumor, and with the appearance of the Taliban ( banned in the Russian Federation, ed .) On the political forefront , it doubled, so today this problem raises serious concerns from the neighbors of Afghanistan and the entire world community.
Despite the increase in drug production since the Taliban came to power, the acceleration of the process of strengthening their political structure, the formation of appropriate government bodies and the transformation of this armed group into an institution of power dominating the greater territory of Afghanistan, made it think about its own international prestige.
In order to demonstrate to the world community its dignified image, responsibility and potential in governing Afghanistan and resisting international pressure, the Taliban government issued a decree in 2000 banning the cultivation and production of narcotic substances. Interestingly, this decree significantly reduced this production, and drug addicts who have survived to this day remember very well the sudden rise in drug prices that occurred at the beginning of the 2000s.
However, already in 2001, the United States and its allies, citing the refusal of the Taliban to hand over to them the main suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden, invaded Afghanistan under the slogan of fighting terrorism. Then the production of narcotic substances in this country began to increase sharply again. It is curious that during all this time only now Western countries have paid attention to the fact that terrorists profit from the drug trade.
Against the background of the presence of the US and NATO military in Afghanistan, every year the production of drugs has grown rapidly throughout this country. It is worth noting that in most of the areas of this production, British and American units are located, called up to fight the Taliban.
According to a report by the United Nations Office for Combating Narcotics in Afghanistan, the province of Helmand is considered to be the main center of this production. It is reported that 60% of all drugs produced in this country are grown in this province. Before the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014, one of the largest Anglo-American military bases was built in the Shorabak district of Helmand province.
The most large-scale production of narcotic substances, and even in the vicinity of the largest foreign military base on the territory of Afghanistan, raises serious suspicions in the political circles and public opinion of this country about the involvement of foreign military in the cultivation and smuggling of such a lucrative product.
In 2013, the Afghan Counter Narcotics Ministry announced that 5,500 tons of drugs had been produced in the country over the past year. The following year, this production reached 6,400 tons. In its report, the Drug Enforcement Ministry also said that in 2013, almost 100,000 hectares of land were planted with opium poppy in Helmand province. In 2015, that is, a year after the withdrawal of American troops, a significant reduction in NATO units and the creation of the Afghan government of national unity, the volume of drug production in that country was 3,200 tons. In 2016, this figure was already 4,800 tons. However, the Afghan Counter Narcotics Ministry and the UN Office in Kabul, following the announcement of a new US military strategy in Afghanistan, said,
Some time ago, the UN representative on the fight against drugs, Mark Kulan, at a press conference in Kabul, said that 63,700 hectares of land were planted with opium poppy in Helmand province alone, which is 79% more than last year. This means that half of Afghan opium is grown in Helmand province alone. During this press conference, the UN representative added that the volume of production per hectare increased to 27.3 kg, that is, an increase of 15% compared to 2016, and the total production reached 9,000 tons, which is an absolute record. throughout the history of Afghanistan.
Some Afghan experts tend to believe that the foreign military in Afghanistan is actively involved in the production and trafficking of drugs. According to these experts, the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan have their own opium fields and the nearby foreign military units do not interfere with harvesting from them. Local peasants say that helicopters and airplanes land around the clock in their provinces, drugs are loaded on them, and then they fly away in an unknown direction.
It is believed that the Americans are systematically increasing the acreage in Afghanistan for the cultivation of opium poppy. Foreigners started doing this in Helmand back in 1985, but now, with their support, production is in full swing.
Afghan experts argue that foreigners, and Americans in particular, profit from the production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan. If the Americans and other NATO militaries were not involved in the drug business, then drugs of Afghan origin could not get to Europe, because sending drugs there in such a volume is beyond the capacity of local smugglers alone. For the transportation of prohibited goods, including drugs, foreign military aircraft may well be used, which cross the border of Afghanistan without any inspection and control by local authorities.
From all that has been said, we can conclude that over the past 16 years, the production of drugs in Afghanistan has only increased, and most of them are produced in the provinces where a large number of American and British troops are stationed.
Almost 17 years have passed since the beginning of the methodical expansion of opium poppy cultivation and the production of narcotic substances in Afghanistan, and a few months ago, the United States and NATO announced that they intend to seriously fight drugs, and even in this regard, carried out a number of airstrikes on those areas, where plants for the production of these substances are allegedly located.
Past experience has shown that the United States is accustomed to deriving at least two benefits from every measure. Washington has successfully implemented a similar plan in Afghanistan. This Asian country has the largest acreage for the cultivation of drugs, which can be conditionally divided into two parts. The first is under the control of the Taliban. The fact is that after the withdrawal of American troops, the Taliban issued a decree allowing the cultivation of opium poppy, they strongly support it in order to ensure their own expenses, and even directly and indirectly issue loans to the peasant population for this. Another part of these areas is located in areas of war or controlled by foreign military. The Afghan authorities do not control these territories or simply do not dare to speak openly about the deplorable situation,
The conditions for growing opium poppy in both territories do not differ much from each other, because everywhere narcotic substances are produced with the support of mostly foreign mafia groups, terrorists and foreign military personnel, and the path of drug trafficking from Afghanistan to other countries follows several specific routes. We are talking about well-known deliveries to different parts of Europe through the Persian Gulf countries, to India and neighboring countries through Pakistan, as well as air transportation to Europe and America from military airports controlled by foreign armed forces in different provinces of Afghanistan. All these routes have been laid with the support of the United States, and the transportation itself is carried out by members of mafia groups. In view of this, in essence, the question of whether
With an average of $ 50 to $ 100 billion in profits per year from the Afghan drug trade, the United States is calmly managing crises in Muslim countries, supporting terrorists and trying to overthrow Islamic governments they dislike. Meanwhile, the intelligence and military structures of the United States and even the units of the American government operate at the expense of this profit. Apparently, Washington will never agree to give up such colossal revenues, because thanks to them, the United States has achieved its strong presence in such a dangerous region. In this regard, NATO and the United States strictly control the Afghan drug traffic, or at least use it to their maximum benefit, without experiencing any need to fight such a lucrative business.
At the same time, some local leaders and government officials in Afghanistan are also implicated in the drug trade. These local authorities operate mostly in troubled areas of the country and, along with some irresponsible officials and terrorist groups, are also involved in the drug trade, receiving significant income from it.
The current situation has worsened so much that Afghanistan accounts for 93% of the world’s drug production, and opium poppy is grown there almost everywhere. The production of narcotic substances continues against the background of the massive presence of foreign military personnel. Despite this, no effective measures are being taken against the cultivation of this crop, its processing and smuggling. On the other hand, drugs of Afghan origin are smuggled into neighboring countries such as Russia (via Central Asia) and Iran. The United States is passive in this matter, so as not to oppose the catastrophic growth of drug addiction in these countries.
In this regard, Russian officials have repeatedly criticized the actions of the Americans and the forces of the Western coalition in Afghanistan, including for their tacit support for the production and smuggling of drugs in this country. Against the background of a significant increase in the production and smuggling of drugs in Afghanistan, Russian representatives in one of their appeals called the refusal of the United States and NATO to fight this evil very suspicious and strange.
At the same time, the following question arises: how long will the Afghans and the peoples of other countries in the region intend to endure the consequences of the drug trade? The answer to this question is quite obvious. The situation will not change as long as the United States considers the production and trade of Afghan drugs to be profitable for itself and covers all its expenses. Apparently, the regional countries, and especially those of them that are more than others facing the sad consequences of the drug trade, should unite in the fight against drug trafficking and suppress the colossal profits of the United States from this illegal business. Otherwise, in the future, we will not have to expect a decrease in the supply of Afghan poison.
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