The “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” are more intertwined than that media and our elected officials would like us to think.
And this became full front and center when the U.S.-led global crusades overlapped in Afghanistan, leaving in their wake a legacy of death, addiction and government corruption tainting Afghan and American soil.
In the U.S., the War in Afghanistan is among the major contributing factors to the country’s devastating heroin epidemic.
Over 10,000 people in America died of heroin-related overdoses in 2014 alone– an epidemic fuelled partly by the low cost and availability of one of the world’s most addictive, and most deadly, drugs.
Despite our promises to eradicate the black market, the U.S. actually enables the illegal drug trade. As journalistAbby Martin writes, the U.S. government has had a long history of facilitating the global drug trade: In the 1950s, it allowed opium to be moved, processed and trafficked throughout the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia while it trained Taiwanese troops to fight Communist China. In the 80s, the CIA provided logistical and financial support to anti-Communist Contras in Nicaragua who were also known international drug traffickers.
Since the DEA got the boot from the Bolivian government in 2008, cocaine production in that country has steadily fallen year after year.
And in 2012, a Mexican government official claimed that rather than fighting drug traffickers, the CIA and other international security forces are actually trying to “manage the drug trade.”
“It’s like pest control companies, they only control,” Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, the Chihuahua spokesman,told Al Jazeera. “If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs.”
While there is no conclusive proof that the CIA is physically running opium out of Afghanistan, Martin notes:
“[I]t’s hard to believe that a region under full US military occupation – with guard posts and surveillance drones monitoring the mountains of Tora Bora – aren’t able to track supply routes of opium exported from the country’s various poppy farms (you know, the ones the US military are guarding).”