By Johann Samuhanand
Bangalore, India, February 09 — As America surges in Afghanistan, it has created its own stirring in the heroin trade, which has come back to life after NATO forces took over the country from the Taliban. The Taliban, who enforced not only Sharia law but other stringent Islamic conditions on the people as well, ensured that poppy was not cultivated at all. Though this infuriated ordinary Afghans, the Taliban enforced it ruthlessly. This also ensured the vanquishing of the drug mafia run by drug lords like General Dostum, Ishmeil Khan, etc.
When the International Security Assistance Force took over, it opened the floodgates of freedom of the media and personal liberty, and also the freedom to grow poppy. Initially, it ensured that ordinary Afghans were happy with the money that came from this trade. This time, the Taliban did not abolish this trade, but cleverly used it to subvert the central rule of Karzai as desired by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The United States winked at this as long it was supporting the Pakistani army and ISI and didn’t affect its global interest in the painkiller market in Europe. ISI thinks that subverting the Indian economy through heroin and other poppy-derived drugs is as effective as a terrorist attack against India. As the global prices for heroin crash in the European market, the CIA is waking up to face the challenge of protecting its market in Europe and the United States.
The connection between ISI and the CIA through drug money is not much known, since ISI is intricately linked to jihadi terrorism, which gets more media space. ISI cannot survive as an institution with this “oxygen” from the drug trade.
Again, the hawala system in Afghanistan is controlled by poppy-generated illegal money. One finds that the hawala centers and drug routes are the same. Ninety-three percent of the world’s illegal opium is grown in Afghanistan. The world’s intelligence agencies and drug lords have their meeting point in the small but prosperous town of Baramcha in Helmand, which grows 70% of Afghanistan’s poppy. The GDP of Afghanistan is US$7.8 billion, while the illegal opium trade is worth more than US$5 billion!!! Now one can understand how important drug trade is to Afghanistan, to the jihadis, to ISI and to the United States, where the illegal street trade is worth US$200 billion! The Taliban are able to completely ignore or reduce taxes on non-opium trade in the areas they control, as long as one pays 10% tax on the opium produced, thereby winning the hearts and minds of ordinary Afghan farmers.
Then what is the game plan of the Obama administration in inviting the following people for his inauguration: Gul Agha Sherzai, Dr. Ashraff Ghani Ahmedzai, Ali Ahmed Jalali, and Abudullah Abdullah? Why is he trying to replace Karzai with one of these warlords? These guys are not angels. The reason is drug money, which made even Zilmay Khalizad salivate for the job.