This is complete nonsense.

The Taliban ordered the poppy plants destroyed for religious reasons.

The Northern Alliance, which controlled a piece of Afghanistan under Taliban rule, and the bulk of the country post October 2001, is responsible for the opium trade in Afghanistan.

How could this writer get it so wrong, or the State Department itself ?

VIENNA: The Northern Alliance has become major opium producer after a Taliban clampdown on poppy-growing slashed world production by around 60 percent, a UN official told AFP Friday.

The Alliance, which has won US support, in its battle against the Taliban produced 150 tonnes of opium this year.

This was stated by Mohammad Amirkhizi, senior policy adviser at the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention.

“They always produce between 120 to 150 tonnes,” he explained.

On 9/30/01 the London Observer reported that British and Americans would soon enter Afghanistan to fight another drug war: to target and destroy the drugs stockpiles of the Taliban, out of fear that the Taliban plans to flood the West with 20 billion pounds worth of heroin. But three weeks later Jane’s Intelligence Review discounted this “heroin onslaught theory” as “premature:” the Taliban’s role consisted merely of taxing the illicit drug traffic, not controlling it.

In another article, Jane’s Intelligence Review reported that while “poppy cultivation has almost totally disappeared” from the areas of Afghanistan under Taliban control, “a rising tide of narcotics – both opium and the heroin refined from it” was flooding out of the northeast corner of Afghanistan under the control of America’s new anti-Taliban allies, the United Front or Northern Alliance.

The article noted that “Compared to the key [Taliban] southern and southeastern provinces – Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Nangahar – where most Afghan opium production has been concentrated, output from the UF-controlled zone has been small – less than 5% – of a national production estimated in 2000 at some 3,300 tonnes. However, the arrival in Badakhshan of Mashriqi opium traders, who generally provide credit to farmers, has both stimulated northeastern production and, perhaps more importantly, has turned the region into a vital conduit for southern opium and heroin moving north into Central Asia. Increased security measures and interdiction along the Afghan-Iranian and Pakistani-Iranian borders have also encouraged this shift towards northern trafficking routes.”

The claim that drug-trafficking had shifted from Taliban to Northern Alliance territory was developed further on 11/25/01 by the London Observer, which attributed the shift to the Taliban’s ban of 2000 on opium-growing: “During the ban the only source of poppy production was territory held by the Northern Alliance. It tripled its production. In the high valleys of Badakhshan – an area controlled by troops loyal to the former President Burhannudin Rabbani – the number of hectares planted last year jumped from 2,458 to 6,342. Alliance fields accounted for 83 per cent of total Afghan production of 185 tonnes of opium during the ban.

Poppy Cock
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4 thoughts on “Poppy Cock

  • Could be a that was then this is now kind of thing. It seems the article is talking about 2006, and not 2001. That being said it’s no secret there is a lot of opium being grown in Afghanistan and the govt there is turning a blind eye to it, and before 2001 it was mostly grown up north.

  • The Taliban tried to eradicate the poppy for religious reasons.

    The Northern Alliance grew it when the Taliban ruled, and grow it in increasing numbers after the fall of the Taliban.

    I am not singing the praises of the Taliban, but I hate articles that invert reality.

    Nancy Pelosi repeated the same nonsense on CSPAN a month or two ago, and I sent her an email correcting her revisionism. Of course, I received a form letter response saying that unless I was her constituent, she would not respond, blah blah blah.

  • Does seem odd that the State Department would make that sort of connection.

    I don’t think anyone that knows a thing about Afghanistan doesn’t believe that there’s always a sort of heroin/Taliban tradeoff there.

    It’s increase could be attributed to lack of Government control PERIOD (or Government “winking”), but certainly not the the Taliban.

    As far as the news story. The purpose of articles like these isn’t to inform or enlighten; but instead to “alarm.”

    “Look how bad things are: the Taliban is back in control, the drug trade is on the upswing. It’s all going to hell in a handbasket!”

    The connection is almost irrelevant, but the “crisis” is the point. That’s why you have Princess Nancy jumping on the bandwagon.

  • Yep, agree with Butch. The shock factor is there , no doubt.

    In a world dominated by sound bytes, this article does the trick.

    Like when Glenn Beck interviewed the NYC police chief the other day and got his thoughts on radical islam. The caption that stayed on the screen throughout the interview was “Iran Targets NYC?”, and yet no evidence is given to support that, but unless you watch the whole show , you might not dismiss the statement as garbage, which it was.

    The caption should have been “US targets Iran?”

    Hey you guys, you gotta go check out my post on my site on Wesley Clark’s interview by Amy Goodman. There were a few things in that interview that blew me away. You can read the transcript or watch the streaming video.

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