The war of USA in Afghanistan, for which 56% of Americans believe “it didn’t worth fighting” neither in money nor in human lives, did not start against drugs nor needed to, but it ended leaving the country multiple dependent on them.
In 2001, during Taliban leadership, only 7.606 hectares of opium poppy were cultivated and they produced 185 tones of opium. After 13 years of presence of NATO forces, cultivated land count up to 224.000 hectares. They produce 6.400 tones of opium, 7% more than 2013, i.e. 80-90% of global supplies, with incomes that correspond to 4% of national GDP, according to 2013 report issued by the Ministry of Counter Narcotic of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (MCN).
With these statistics, it is somewhat surprising why the Office for Drugs and Crime of the UN (UNODC), records as a success the confiscation of 20 tones of drugs which were incinerated last October.
The saddest aspect of the problem nevertheless is the number of afghan drug users who exceed the 1.5 million people. Among them, there are about 70 thousand children and also women, a total of 2.65% of population, the highest in the world.
According to the MCN report, the easy access to drugs and the limited access to treatment, the physical and psychological trauma after 30 years of war, combined to poverty, unemployment and financial problems are major factors for the increase of users. In the same time, the injected use, created and increases proportionally the HIV infected persons.
Nothing more obvious than the sharp increase of production, exports and use of opium after the American invasion which not only did not win the war against terrorism but instead, created a “narco state”, as desrcibed by the former war correspondent in Afghanistan Matthieu Aikins.
The troops, only in theory withdrew before the end of 2014. The deal signed between USA and the American-nourished Ashraf Ghani, allows the presence of 10000 men troops. In the same time, the bilateral agreement BSA with NATO, allows the continuation of training and consultancy to the afghan security forces and the antiterrorism military operations against Al-Khaida.
Political analyst Vladimir Odintsof at New Eastern Outlook, mentions international experts (writers-journalists-analysts), who have concluded that the US promoted opium cultivation and trafficking to Europe, Central Asia and Russia, aiming to socio-political destabilization of these areas. Furthermore, afghan cartels sponsor criminal groups in Central Asia, while Kosovo has become the main trafficker of opium to Europe, under NATO patronage.
At the borders with Iran, the main gate of export of illegal drugs towards Europe and Russia, there seems to take place a much more effective war against traffickers, with important positive outcome but with a cost in thousands of lives of Iranian border policemen.
On the opposite side, Pakistani intelligence (ISI) maintains close links with traffickers, whom help to escape raids, according to residences’ evidence quoted in his article in Rolling Stone by Matthieu Aikins. He also points out: “The United States’ alliances with opium traffickers in Afghanistan go back to the 1980s, when the CIA waged a dirty war to undermine the Soviet occupation of the country. Though opium had been grown for centuries in Afghanistan’s highlands, large-scale cultivation was introduced in Helmand by Mullah Nasim Akhund-zada, a mujahedeen commander who was receiving support from the ISI and the CIA. USAID’s irrigated farmlands were perfect for cash-crop production, and as Akhundzada wrested control of territory from the Communist government, he introduced production quotas and offered cash advances to farmers who planted opium.”
UN estimates that Taliban gain hundreds of millions of dollars through taxation of opium and illicit operations, although their profit is negligible compared to 3 billions that the afghan state collects from sales.
Afghanistan is a country where corruption prevails and this is a “wound” which USA would allegedly treat. Their hegemony has rather intensified the phenomenon in yet another way: Troops and private contractors had plenty of cash and demostrated the model of over-consumption which the poor farmers could not “serve” through their traditional activities but only through the, established, opium circuit.
There is nothing convincing that the USA has the willingness to confront the plague of drugs and of opium cultivation, despite the declarations of the official state.
According to Vladimir Odintsof, “Washington could not care less” in the successful system proposed by former Commissioner on Drugs in India. According to the tested and financially successful model, Afghan state would allow farmers to earn their living by selling opium poppies for medical use only. This way, the global need for legal analgesic drugs would be covered -according to data by the World Health Organization- instead of synthetic substitutes.
The existing tragic reality is that, at least one whole generation of afghan people has not experienced peace. The thirty years old Afghans were born, nourished and lived only in war, which, either as “imported” or as civil, created hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees (one third of refugees worldwide).
So let’s not be puzzled, here in European Greece and continent, why people travel thousands of kilometers in the most inhumanly harsh conditions to end up living in the most inhumanly harsh conditions we provide to them.