Friday, May 25, 2007

Drugs lords rising, again

...American officials hope that Afghanistan's drug problem will someday be only as bad as that of Colombia.

Poppy growing is endemic in the countryside, and Afghanistan now produces 92 percent of the world's opium.

New York Times,
May 16, 2007

I've written before about the history that shows that wherever the U.S. imperial adventures intrude, drug activity spikes. But apparently the current situation in Afghanistan is pretty extreme. This goes back to those heady days when Donald Rumsfeld knocked over the Taliban on the cheap, armed with a U.N. resolution, the CIA, Special Forces, and a few bought-off warlords on the make. Now, as the Taliban makes a comeback and security deteriorates, the dirty truth is leaking out.

...the C.I.A. and military turned a blind eye to drug-related activities by prominent warlords or political figures they had installed in power, Afghan and American officials say.

"This is the Afghan equivalent of failing to deal with looting in Baghdad," said Andre D. Hollis, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics. "If you are not dealing with those who are threatened by security and who undermine security, namely drug traffickers, all your other grandiose plans will come to naught."

Somehow I don't imagine that NATO allies will continue to endanger the lives of their troops in Afghanistan for long in order to keep a U.S.-implanted government full of traffickers in power.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, opium cultivation is also on the rise, according to the Independent.

Rice farmers in the fertile plain along the Euphrates, just to the west of Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad, have stopped cultivating rice and are instead planting poppies, Iraqi sources familiar with the area say.

The shift to opium cultivation is still in its early stages but there is little the Iraqi Government can do about it because rival Shiite militias and their surrogates in the security forces control Diwaniyah. There have been clashes between militias, police, Iraqi Army and US forces in the city over the last two months.

If history really is going to repeat itself as farce, U.S. troops will get tired of being killed while hopelessly trying to referee a civil war. They'll start using the local product. I'm sure this is one more worry for the smarter officers in the military who see their proud institution chewed up in an indefensible war.

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