The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade

by Michel Chossudovsky

Since the US led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Golden Crescent opium trade has soared. According to the US media, this lucrative contraband is protected by Osama, the Taliban, not to mention, of course, the regional warlords, in defiance of the “international community”.
The heroin business is said to  be “filling the coffers of the Taliban”. In the words of the US State Department:

Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups… [C]utting down the opium supply is central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism,” (Statement of Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles. Congressional Hearing, 1 April 2004)

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium production in Afghanistan in 2003 is estimated at 3,600 tons, with an estimated area under cultivation of the order of 80,000 hectares.
An even larger bumper harvest is predicted for 2004.

The State Department suggests that up to 120 000 hectares were under cultivation in 2004.
We could be on a path for a significant surge. Some observers indicate perhaps as much as 50 percent to 100 percent growth in the 2004 crop over the already troubling figures from last year.

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