NATO: Cold War to Needle War

Posted by msrb on February 28, 2010

90% of the world’s heroin originates in Afghanistan

NATO provides heroin production immunity to appease Afghan opium farmers!

Soviet Union has long gone, but NATO,  its old foe, is still here, operating illegally, waging a different war against the Russians:  The Needle War!


Poppy Field in Afghanistan. Image source. Image may be subject to copyright.

While NATO countries stockpiles of nuclear weapons remain almost entirely intact, NATO’s weapon of choice against Russia has now changed from plutonium to heroin.

About five million Russians are drug addicts, at least half of whom are addicted to heroin, according to reports, and nearly all of the drug supply comes from Afghanistan.

And now the head of Russia’s federal drug control agency has accused NATO for allowing the heroin production in Afghanistan to continue unhindered.

Victor Ivanov says heroin kills more than 30,000 people in Russia every year, and nearly all of the deadly drug comes from Afghanistan, BBC reported.

“He blamed the Obama administration for ending a military drive to destroy opium poppy crops in Afghan fields.” The report said.

What is the US excuse for allowing farmers to produce opium, which is readily processed into heroin?

Obama administration says destroying poppy crops was alienating farmers, driving them to support the Taliban.

But wait a moment, which Taliban are these Taliban?

The October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan restored the “Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry (from 6% of world market share in 2001 to currently over 90% according to the UNODC World Drug Report 2007),” says Gideon Polya.


A heroin user injects himself at the derelict former Russian Cultural Center, a haven for drug addicts in Kabul. Photo credit: Peter Nicholls/The Times (UK). Image may be subject to copyright.

How could this be?

Mr Ivanov says poppy fields guarantee immunity for drug producers.

His statement makes perfect sense because the drug producers  are the only ones who would buy the opium from Afghan farmers. If the heroin producers are driven out of business, the farmers couldn’t sell their opium. If the heroin producers couldn’t sell their deadly product, they wouldn’t be able to buy more opium. And if Obama administration is to be believed, they would turn their support to the Taliban. Heroin production in Afghanistan is therefore effectively protected and guaranteed by NATO.

Russian authorities say as a result of the heroin production immunity in Afghanistan a tsunami of cheap heroin has hit Russia and Central Asia.

Mr Ivanov asserts that the heroin production in Afghanistan has now developed to a “global destabilizing factor,” especially for Russia.

 

Afghanistan, Opium and the Taliban

Papaver somniferum: the opium poppy

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (February 15, 2001 8:19 p.m. EST

U.N. drug control officers said the Taliban religious militia has nearly wiped out opium production in Afghanistan — once the world’s largest producer — since banning poppy cultivation last summer.

A 12-member team from the U.N. Drug Control Program spent two weeks searching most of the nation’s largest opium-producing areas and found so few poppies that they do not expect any opium to come out of Afghanistan this year.

"We are not just guessing. We have seen the proof in the fields," said Bernard Frahi, regional director for the U.N. program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He laid out photographs of vast tracts of land cultivated with wheat alongside pictures of the same fields taken a year earlier — a sea of blood-red poppies.

A State Department official said Thursday all the information the United States has received so far indicates the poppy crop had decreased, but he did not believe it was eliminated.

Last year, Afghanistan produced nearly 4,000 tons of opium, about 75 percent of the world’s supply, U.N. officials said. Opium — the milky substance drained from the poppy plant — is converted into heroin and sold in Europe and North America. The 1999 output was a world record for opium production, the United Nations said — more than all other countries combined, including the "Golden Triangle," where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet.

Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s supreme leader, banned poppy growing before the November planting season and augmented it with a religious edict making it contrary to the tenets of Islam.

The Taliban, which has imposed a strict brand of Islam in the 95 percent of Afghanistan it controls, has set fire to heroin laboratories and jailed farmers until they agreed to destroy their poppy crops.

The U.N. surveyors, who completed their search this week, crisscrossed Helmand, Kandahar, Urzgan and Nangarhar provinces and parts of two others — areas responsible for 86 percent of the opium produced in Afghanistan last year, Frahi said in an interview Wednesday. They covered 80 percent of the land in those provinces that last year had been awash in poppies.

This year they found poppies growing on barely an acre here and there, Frahi said. The rest — about 175,000 acres — was clean.

"We have to look at the situation with careful optimism," said Sandro Tucci of the U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention in Vienna, Austria.

He said indications are that no poppies were planted this season and that, as a result, there hasn’t been any production of opium — but that officials would keep checking.

The State Department counternarcotics official said the department would make its own estimate of the poppy crop. Information received so far suggests there will be a decrease, but how much is not yet clear, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We do not think by any stretch of the imagination that poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has been eliminated. But we, like the rest of the world, welcome positive news."

The Drug Enforcement Administration declined to comment.

No U.S. government official can enter Afghanistan because of security concerns stemming from the presence of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Poppies are harvested in March and April, which is why the survey was done now. Tucci said it would have been impossible for the poppies to have been harvested already.

The areas searched by the U.N. surveyors are the most fertile lands under Taliban control. Other areas, though they are somewhat fertile, have not traditionally been poppy growing areas and farmers are struggling to raise any crops at all because of severe drought. The rest of the land held by the Taliban is mountainous or desert, where poppies could not grow.

Karim Rahimi, the U.N. drug control liaison in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, said farmers were growing wheat or onions in fields where they once grew poppies.

"It is amazing, really, when you see the fields that last year were filled with poppies and this year there is wheat," he said.

The Taliban enforced the ban by threatening to arrest village elders and mullahs who allowed poppies to be grown. Taliban soldiers patrolled in trucks armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers. About 1,000 people in Nangarhar who tried to defy the ban were arrested and jailed until they agreed to destroy their crops.

Signs throughout Nangarhar warn against drug production and use, some calling it an "illicit phenomenon." Another reads: "Be drug free, be happy."

Last year, poppies grew on 12,600 acres of land in Nangarhar province. According to the U.N. survey, poppies were planted on only 17 acres there this season and all were destroyed by the Taliban.

"The Taliban have done their work very seriously," Frahi said.

But the ban has badly hurt farmers in one of the world’s poorest countries, shattered by two decades of war and devastated by drought.

Ahmed Rehman, who shares less than three acres in Nangarhar with his three brothers, said the opium he produced last year on part of the land brought him $1,100.

This year, he says, he will be lucky to get $300 for the onions and cattle feed he planted on the entire parcel.

"Life is very bad for me this year," he said. "Last year I was able to buy meat and wheat and now this year there is nothing."

But Rehman said he never considered defying the ban.

"The Taliban were patrolling all the time. Of course I was afraid. I did not want to go to jail and lose my freedom and my dignity," he said, gesturing with dirt-caked hands.

Shams-ul-Haq Sayed, an officer of the Taliban drug control office in Jalalabad, said farmers need international aid.

"This year was the most important for us because growing poppies was part of their culture, and the first years are always the most difficult," he said.

Tucci said discussions are under way on how to help the farmers.

Western diplomats in Pakistan have suggested the Taliban is simply trying to drive up the price of opium they have stockpiled. The State Department official also said Afghanistan could do more by destroying drug stockpiles and heroin labs and arresting producers and traffickers.

Frahi dismissed that as "nonsense" and said it is drug traffickers and shopkeepers who have stockpiles. Two pounds of opium worth $35 last year are now worth as much as $360, he said.

Mullah Amir Mohammed Haqqani, the Taliban’s top drug official in Nangarhar, said the ban would remain regardless of whether the Taliban received aid or international recognition.

"It is our decree that there will be no poppy cultivation. It is banned forever in this country," he said. "Whether we get assistance or not, poppy growing will never be allowed again in our country.

The Opium Poppy

***********************************

End of Taliban will bring rise in heroin

By Richard Lloyd Parry in Islamabad

The defeat of the Taliban would result in a surge in opium production, which has beenvirtually halted in Afghanistan by the Kabul regime over the last year, United Nations officials have warned.

A new UN survey reveals that the Taliban have completed one of the quickest and most successful drug elimination programmes in history.

The area of land given over to growing opium poppies in 2001 fell by 91 per cent compared with the year before, according to the UN Drug Control Programme’s (UNDCP) annual survey of Afghanistan. Production of fresh opium, the raw material for heroin, went down by an unprecedented 94 per cent, from 3,276 tonnes to 185 tonnes.

Almost all Afghan opium this year came out of territories controlled by America’s ally in the assault on Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance. Because of a ban on poppy farming, only one in 25 of Afghanistan’s opium poppies was being grown in Taliban areas.

However, while poppy cultivation dropped, exports of refined opium and heroin from the Taliban-controlled areas remained unchanged because of stockpiles.

Some UN officials privately believe that the Taliban have not received enough credit for controlling drugs, and that under any post-Taliban regime cultivation, consumption – and the amount of opium and heroin on world markets – would inevitably increase.

"These are things which no one can say," said one UN official who worked in Afghanistan before the terrorist attacks of 11 September. "No other government in the world would have been able to do that. When I travelled through Badakshan [a province largely controlled by the Northern Alliance] you often saw the poppies."

In its early years the Taliban justified the cultivation of opium on the basis that it was a drug consumed abroad by unbelievers.

But in 2000, the regime changed its mind and vigorously enforced the ban, apparently in the hope of winning credit with the UN and strengthening its claim to Afghanistan’s seat in the General Assembly, currently occupied by the Northern Alliance.

natural antidepressants: Papaver somniferum - the opium poppy

*********************************

Advertisements