Report: U.S. Responsible for Dramatic Expansion of Afghan Opium Trade


Julien Mercille
Asia Times Online
December 16, 2009

[efoods]As United States President Barack Obama and his advisors debated future troop levels for Afghanistan – which resulted in the decision to send an additional 30,000 troops – a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) muddied the water on one of the most important issues in the debate – the effects of Afghanistan’s drug production.

The report, entitled “Addiction, Crime, and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium,” gives the false impression that the Taliban are the main culprits behind Afghanistan’s skyrocketing drug production. It also implies that drugs are the main reason why the Taliban are gaining in strength, absolving the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of their own responsibility in fomenting the insurgency.

In fact, the United States and its Afghan allies bear a large share of responsibility for the drug industry’s dramatic expansion since the invasion. Buried deep in the report, its authors admit that reduced levels of drug production would have little effect on the insurgency’s vigor.

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