According to The Washington Times National Weekly Edition (Sept. 10), Afghan heroin traffickers are “expanding their illicit trade into the United States and Canada to become what authorities [the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police] say is the fastest-growing source of heroin in both countries…. About 92 percent of the world’s heroin comes from opium poppies grown in Afghanistan, according to the 2007 World Drug Report…. Opium cultivation accounts for nearly 60 percent of Afghanistan’s gross national product. Poppy production has expanded wildly since [U.S.-backed] Hamid Karzai’s government took control in 2002.”
According to Matthew Quirk in The Atlantic Monthly (March 2005), “When the Taliban banned poppy cultivation in 2000, opium production declined by 94 percent. But after the Taliban fell…. cultivation has exploded….”
Writing in The American Conservative (Sept. 25, 2006), Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, reports that “Hamid Karzai has admitted that many government ministers get payoffs from drug traffickers.”
The Taliban also bankrolls its insurgency via the opium trade. But no doubt if the Taliban recaptures the Afghan government, it will banish the opium trade once again.
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