Record Afghan Opium Crop Signals Violent Year for U.S. Forces

As poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increases, more funds are likely supporting the Taliban’s insurgency, portending a tough year ahead for U.S. occupiers, write Will Porter and Kyle Anzalone.

By Will Porter and Kyle Anzalone

In Afghanistan, the world’s most powerful military is threatened by a small, pink flower.

Map illustrating the Afghan provinces where the most poppies are being cultivated.

Despite an escalation of the Afghan conflict under the Trump administration, a record opium crop, coupled with steady Taliban gains, foretell bitter fighting in the coming months for American forces and the Afghans stationed alongside them.

“Record-high opium production is but one indication of how badly U.S. efforts have failed and are continuing to fail,” said Andrew Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University and author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East. “It is both a major source of Taliban funding and an indication of how little control the Afghan government is able to exert.”

The Taliban and the Opium Trade

In November, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime released its annual Afghanistan Opium Survey. According to the report, 2017’s opium crop, estimated at 9,000 tons, marks an 87 percent increase from the previous year.

The record crop has left the Taliban flush with cash it will use to finance military operations, the wages of fighters, as well as arms purchases.

As the area under cultivation in Taliban territory grows, “we can conclude that more funds flow to the Taliban,” said Gretchen Peters, former ABC News foreign correspondent and an expert on the Afghan opium trade.

While many have enjoyed the plant’s small dark seeds on their bagels, at maturity poppies produce seed pods which contain opium, a sticky sap that is drained from the pods and dried. Opium’s alkaloids can be extracted and altered to produce a wide range of opioid narcotics, including morphine and heroin.

Over the last decade Afghanistan has been the world’s top producer and exporter of raw opium and heroin, in some years supplying much of the entire global heroin market.

The opium trade has long played a vital role in the Afghan economy and political landscape. The plant not only supplies farmers with a highly profitable cash crop and creates employment opportunities in rural areas, but proceeds from the opium trade also bolster local warlords and militant groups such as the Taliban.

“The Taliban is a major player in setting farm quotas for poppy farmers, storing and transporting opium out of Afghanistan, running and protecting drug labs that refine opium into heroin and laundering drug proceeds,” Peters said.

The narcotics trade is now the Taliban’s single greatest source of revenue, “taxing” opium traffic to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In the last year the group has also expanded its activities to refining and selling the substance itself, a development sure to put more funds in the hands of the militants.

The factors driving poppy cultivation in Afghanistan are myriad.

“Scarce employment opportunities, lack of quality education and limited access to markets and financial services continue to contribute to the vulnerability of farmers towards opium poppy cultivation,” the 2017 Opium Survey found.

The lion’s share of last year’s record opium crop was cultivated in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan, near the Afghan-Pakistan border. This virtually ungoverned tribal territory has furnished the Taliban with a place of refuge since the American invasion in 2001, and serves as a base of operations for the Taliban’s activities.

“[The Taliban] receive much of their funding from the narcotics trafficking that occurs out of Helmand,” U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a press briefing last year. “Helmand produces a significant amount of the opium globally that turns into heroin and … this provides about 60 percent of the Taliban funding.”

From its southern stronghold near the Af-Pak border, the Taliban has managed to launch attacks and capture or contest nearly 45 percent of Afghanistan, painting a dismal picture for American military objectives in the country.

This year’s unprecedented poppy harvest only serves to darken that image, particularly for the upcoming Spring Offensive.

A Bloody Spring

The Taliban surges in activity during Afghanistan’s warm spring months, lying more or less dormant in the autumn and winter. This annual spike in operations has been dubbed the “Spring Offensive.” In last year’s Offensive, vowing to target American soldiers, the Taliban made gains all over the country, generating momentum that the group is now poised to capitalize on.

With the Trump administration’s Afghan strategy in place, American troops will now be closer than ever to the war’s front lines.

Defense Secretary James Mattis announced in September that over 3,000 soldiers would be deployed as part of the strategy, putting the total U.S. troop level in Afghanistan at approximately 14,000. Over 1,000 additional American advisers could also be deployed to support Afghan security forces as they push into the Taliban-controlled south this spring, putting more Americans in harm’s way.

U.S. military officials have acknowledged the increased danger American soldiers will face.

“Yes, there will be greater risk, absolutely,” Gen. Nicholson said last year. To limit the danger, the military was “going to great lengths to ensure force protection,” Nicholson said, adding that the soldiers would have a “whole array of support behind them.”

Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, concurred with Nicholson’s assessment in a press briefing earlier this month, telling reporters “Americans are at risk and unfortunately there are probably going to be continued American casualties in this campaign.”

While many American soldiers fill an “advise and assist” role in Afghanistan, the lines between advisory and combat missions can easily blur when Americans are so closely embedded with foreign troops, as has happened in similar operations elsewhere in the world. The proximity to active combat zones only increases that risk to American personnel.

Tough Year Ahead

Signs that 2018 will be a tough year for U.S. forces have already begun to manifest.

January saw a wave of deadly Taliban attacks launched in Afghan’s capital of Kabul, one killing some 100 people, including four American citizens. With some exceptions, Kabul was thought to be a nominally safe city, but the recent attacks prove the Taliban’s ability to project force far beyond its southern sanctuary.

Also in January, the Pentagon blocked a federal watchdog from publishing a report on Taliban territorial holdings, another troubling indication that the war is not going the administration’s way.

The watchdog, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said the decision was problematic because “the number of districts controlled or influenced by the Afghan government had been one of the last remaining publicly available indicators for members of Congress—many of whose staff do not have access to the classified annexes to SIGAR reports—and for the American public of how the 16-year-long U.S. effort to secure Afghanistan is faring.”

Past experience does not bode well for the Trump strategy. The Obama administration presided over a large Afghan “surge” in 2009 which swelled total troop numbers in the country to over 100,000. Given the surge’s lack of success in reversing Taliban gains—in spite of the drastically ramped-up American presence—some analysts are skeptical that the Trump approach will work.

“The Trump strategy is really not much of a strategy,” Bacevich said. “It’s a strategy of persistence, albeit with a small number of additional U.S. troops and a generous additional dose of bombing. The expectation is that the Taliban will tire and become willing to settle on a negotiated end to the war. I know of no evidence to support such an expectation.”

Trump’s National Security Strategy—a document that lays out a general framework for U.S. policy goals around the world—called for increased military pressure on the Taliban in order to force them to the negotiation table. The administration, however, appears to have abandoned this plank of the strategy, announcing late last month that the U.S. would no longer seek talks with the group.

The announcement raises questions for the Trump administration with respect to the American mission, and the role of American soldiers, in Afghanistan.

A War Within a War

In addition to stepping up regular combat and advisory operations in Afghanistan, the United States is also increasing its involvement in drug interdiction—what amounts to a war on drugs within a war on terror.

In a recent article for the Guardian, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of “The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia,” Alfred McCoy, recounts a conversation he had with an American Embassy official stationed in Afghanistan.

Speaking over satellite phone from an Afghan poppy field, the official gave McCoy a stark ultimatum: “You can’t win this war without taking on drug production in Helmand province.”

To date, despite spending a cool $7.6 billion on such efforts over the last decade, they have largely met failure.

“By every conceivable metric, we’ve failed,” Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, said in a 2014 speech at Georgetown University. “[Opium] production and cultivation are up, interdiction and eradication are down, financial support to the insurgency is up, and addiction and abuse are at unprecedented levels in Afghanistan.”

(He could have added that addiction and abuse are at unprecedented levels in the United States as well, with the opioid epidemic contributing to decreasing national life expectancy rates, according to recent research.)

Gen. Nicholson announced in late November that the U.S. would begin directly bombing Taliban-linked drug production facilities, targets which had previously been off limits to U.S. and allied forces. The Pentagon claims the strikes, which have continued since November, have already crippled the Taliban’s finances and denied the group $16 million in revenue, but the progress might not be what is alleged.

“The Pentagon has made various claims about the size of the impact on Taliban finances, but that is all highly speculative,” Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution senior fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and expert on Afghanistan, told Alternet.

“The logic is that a certain amount of heroin is destroyed per target and that heroin is assigned that same value per unit price, but we can’t assume that,” Felbab-Brown said. “It could be there was no processed heroin there at all, only opium. The only value might be that it eliminated one Taliban financier who happened to be present, or maybe disrupted one link in the trade, but we can’t even assume that.”

Aside from the questionable effectiveness of the operations, their consequences can be measured in other ways as well.

In one particular strike intended for a drug lab in the Helmand city of Musa Qala, American bombers instead hit the home of a small-time opium trader, killing his wife, his six children—most of whom were no older than 8—and his one-year-old granddaughter.

Such casualties are often written off as “collateral damage,” but, as a growing body of research indicates, civilian deaths have driven radicalism and violence in countries where the U.S. military operates, pushing local populations into the arms of militant groups like the Taliban.

One 2010 study found that eight insurgent attacks per year could be prevented in every average-sized Afghan district if American operations killed fewer civilians, concluding that “in order to reduce violence to ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] soldiers, units should seek to minimize civilian casualties.”

While administration officials are apparently seeing the importance of the drug trade to the strength of militant groups in Afghanistan, the situation may now be impossible to remedy by military means. Diverting military funds into developing Afghanistan’s agricultural sector, some analysts believe, could be the key to solving the problem.

“If the international community continues to nudge the country’s dependence on illicit opium downward through sustained rural development, then maybe Afghanistan will cease to be the planet’s leading narco-state—and just maybe the annual cycle of violence could at long last be broken,” writes McCoy.

The U.S. has worsened the drug problem in Afghanistan through decades of bad policy, Peters said, but it “could turn the table by focusing energy on stabilizing non-drug producing parts of the country.”

Given the administration’s stated strategy of escalation, albeit ambiguous, an abrupt change of course does not appear likely.

Regardless of what long-term solutions (or lack of them) the United States imposes on Afghanistan, as the Taliban consolidates its territorial gains and bolsters its power with proceeds from the narcotics trade, the spring of 2018 is slated to be one of the bloodiest sagas of America’s longest war.

Will Porter is a journalist who specializes in U.S. foreign policy and Middle East affairs. He writes for the Libertarian Institute and tweets at @WKPancap.

Kyle Anzalone is the host of the Foreign Policy Focus podcast and the editor-in-chief of Immersion News. His writing can be found at the Libertarian Institute.

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109 comments for “Record Afghan Opium Crop Signals Violent Year for U.S. Forces

  1. tjoe
    March 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

    “As the area under cultivation in Taliban territory grows, “we can conclude that more funds flow to the Taliban,” said Gretchen Peters, former ABC News foreign correspondent and an expert on the Afghan opium trade”

    The strange thing is that Taliban almost had the poppy growth stopped and then the US allowed it to start again so they could send heroin into Russia. This appears to be a disinformation story….it’s the US supporting poppy growth.

  2. max
    March 13, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    What a bunch of crap! the US is the greatest exporter of opium there.

  3. March 13, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Absolute nonsense. When U.S. invaders entered the country in 2001, the Taliban had eradicated tyhe poppy crop. Afterward, production reached worldwide and historical highs, and still increasing. Much of the crop goes through U.S. army’s Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.

  4. Patmann
    March 13, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Yoo, Will Porter and Kyle Anzalone,

    By your (this) article you are acknowledging then, that US & 60 nation coalition are guarding the Opium fields for the Taliban!
    Because every time we check YouTube videos on opium fields we see US & UK etc troops guarding and making sure fields are watered and fertilized.
    Cut the BS about the Taliban using proceeds from opium production for war.
    The poppy fields were destroyed by the Taliban in 1981. The US spent $3.5 Billion to get it back up & running!
    US, biggest drug cartel in history!

  5. Dave Sullivan
    March 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Can’t the US Air Force eradicate the crop any time they want ? Here’s some dots,..opium….money laundering. …mobbed up stooge POTUS….US military dominance…FBI investigation. …..

  6. Darkwing
    March 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Before the US military went into the middle east, the opium crop was almost wiped out. But the war on drugs was to keep the CIA funded

  7. Nona
    March 13, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Of course, we know that these “reporters” are stooges for the Feds.
    It was ALWAYS the Taliban that was AGAINST the opium, and there is photo evidence that it is our troops that guard the fields.
    Check it out yourselves.

    Anyway, that the hell are we doing in that savage place?
    Let the Native Taliban have their place back. They can keep it

  8. MJB
    March 11, 2018 at 10:51 am

    The Taliban get’s the blame for all violence and insurgency happening in Afghanistan. Fact is they’re about the only ones who can’t be corrupted by the US. In 2000,a year before US blew up their twin towers,Taliban destroyed about 90% of the poppy fields!! Heroin is also a huge problem in Afghanistan itself! Between 2001 and 2011 the opium crops increased 40x (…). US where not spraying Agent Orange over the fields but more likely fertilizer! From about,2011 the heroin epidemic exploded in the US,which the US media blames on Mexico (which logistically is impossible!) It seems that many Americans can’t grasp how evil their deep-state really is! So now the Taliban thrives on opium sales? ‘Past facts’ suggest different.. 2017 will show around 100.000 deadly heroin overdoses in the USA,and the Taliban is still the greatest ‘enemy’ to beat?! USA is it’s own ‘greatest enemy’.

  9. Jeff
    March 11, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Very informative.

    But I fear you’re missing the bigger point – that this apparent conflict is a false flag – of which there re many withim the MIC – who exists to PROTECT the opium production to CONTINUE the opium problem in the US – as distractor/divider for the deep state.

  10. March 10, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    For older reporting on the CIAs role in Afghanistan opium, I submit this link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/world/asia/28intel.html

    • Jeff
      March 11, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Exactly.
      Thank you

  11. Zhu Bajie
    March 10, 2018 at 4:41 am

    Solution: pull out, leave the Afghans alone.

  12. Maria S Calef
    March 9, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    It is very hard to believe that while USA occupy that country, this crop has increase in cultivation and drug trade operations in contrast to the time when the Taliban were en complet control of the contry of Afghanistan. USA is occupation in Afghanista have been destabilizing the country where people still resist foreign occupation. So Taliban has lost its dominion of the government which is now as a puppet of USA, and following Washington agenda and foreign policy. It is USA in control of Afghanista which make hard to believe that this growing drug cultivarion is under Talibans and not under USA military .

  13. Lucifer Christ
    March 9, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Well, if there is a bumper crop of opium this year that means the CIA and the military industrial complex will be making money – shipping it into the US (and Europe) and getting all the American (European) people addicted. After all, that was the plan wasn’t it? Those of you in the CIA and the MIC and government in the eye?

    There will be no more war. There will be no more homelessness in the US and Europe. Those of you in the eye will help these people addicted to your drugs. You will give people disability benefits. You will get people off the streets and give them individual housing – not shelters where there is no safety and too much violence and rape. Don’t complain about money – your evil friends have too much already – just do it.

    We are in Revelation now. Did you know? Now you do and my people will get what they want for their health. And I will get what I want and you will stay away from me unless you come with gifts like Wise Men. I am tired of the games. I am tired of the lies. I am tired of your depopulation agenda. But most of all I am tired of saying this – things on Earth will be as they are in heaven. Otherwise the end will come – out of the blue. Capeesh? Haaaaaahaaaaaaa – Another One Bits the Dust. The people will rule. So above – so below. God is a master planner. Didn’t you know?

    Most of what you think is wrong. Hurting children and others only brings eternal damnation. There is no escape from the dark.
    Move to the light while you still have time.

  14. March 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

    most of this was predicted in this article I read in vanity Fair back in 2003:https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2002/03/afghanistan200203

  15. March 8, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Gee, I wonder how the opium gets from Afghanistan to the U.S. consumer? I think many people either forgot or don’t know about the CIAs Air America or the Iran Contra Mena, Arkansas drug ring. Many military flights from Afghanistan to US every week, could it be ? Nah,

    • March 8, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Usually Mexico gets blamed for all things bad but apparently some 90+% of all the heroine in Canada comes from Afghanistan but with that very secure border (ha!) none of it apparently comes into the US.???

  16. Hank
    March 8, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Wow, news for me. I had believed the Taliban wiped out poppy production after they won out against the USSR backed regime. I am totally surprised they switched strategies and wondered if the cia had been dealing again aka 1960’s, 1980’s?

  17. KiwiAntz
    March 8, 2018 at 3:17 am

    For God sakes, why doesn’t America just learn lessons from their disastrous mistakes, you’d think losing the war in Vietnam & other failed military intervention’s around the World would tell them that it’s impossible to win a war of attrition against a committed foe with the time & fortitude to resist & sit it out? The peasant army of the Vietcong knew this (as they defeated the greatest military power in the World, at that time) & the Afghan Taliban knows this, it’s a proven, successful strategy! The US needs to cut its loss’s like the Soviets did & get the hell outta there? Historically, Afghanistan is the graveyard of Empires starting from Alexander the Great to the Soviet invasion in the 1980’s? Einstein said the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over & over again & expecting a different result? Well the result here is complete & utter failure? Get out now!

    • Zhu Bajie
      March 10, 2018 at 5:33 am

      You can be sure that lots of other people have studied carefully just how N. Vietnam won and the US lost.

  18. Kelli
    March 7, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Why are there photos circulating of US soldiers guarding the poppies?. The Trump Administration won’t put real money into combatting the deadly opiate addiction and overdose that has taken tens of thousands of lives. I do not believe we are there to prevent the Taliban from growing opium but rather we are COMPETING with it.
    These wars for RESOURCES need to END.

  19. John Hawk
    March 7, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    The O & O Wars: Oil & Opium. Any questions, brought to you by Al-CIA-da!

  20. Hans Zandvliet
    March 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    On a more serious note, I do miss the dubious role of the CIA in this business:

    “Gen. Nicholson announced in late November that the U.S. would begin directly bombing Taliban-linked drug production facilities, targets which had previously been off limits to U.S. and allied forces.”

    Why were drug targets off limits in the first place? Are the US generals so retarded that it takes them 16 years to understand they should hit where it hurts (the Taliban’s money supply)? Of course not: usually Washington is very quick to criple an unfavourable country/organisation by freezing their bank accounts and attacking their sources of income (Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc.).

    But that leaves one with the unanswered question: why didn’t they bomb those drug targets for all those years???

    The answer is that the CIA is the world’s biggest drug cartel and they’re making a killing with heroin in Afghanistan (like they do with cocaine in Columbia): it funds their darkest operations, which they never need to disclose, because they’re financially independent from the US ‘government’.

    • Dr. Ip
      March 7, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Or, certain labs/warehouses can be targets now because those people are selling to non-CIA buyers who supply them with Kalashnikovs, ammo and bitcoins. The old Mafia protection racket in hyper-drive. “If you don’t sell to us, you don’t sell to nobody!” BOOM!

    • John Hawk
      March 7, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      Let’s be clear: why would anyone believe what the US Govmnt says about anything, especially the targets it bombs! All b. s., makes for a good headline!

      • March 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm

        Do not believe anything until it has been officially denied.

  21. Skip Scott
    March 7, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Nowhere in this article, or anywhere else, have I seen any discussion of how all this heroin gets all the way from Afghanistan to the USA. Let’s see, if it were commercial airlines you’d think customs could intercept a large portion of it. If it was transported aboard ship, surely a little checking of cargo that originated in ports close to Afghanistan would be possible. I’m sitting here with my tin foil hat on thinking that something nefarious is going on, and that the usual suspect (CIA) is complicit.

    The added benefit is population reduction here in the USA, mainly among the “deplorables” and “expendables”.

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 7, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Skip Scott, I suspect that you know this but this is really a well documented aspect of our life.
      See, foe instance, “Drugging America, A Trojan Horse” by Rodney Stich.

    • jose
      March 7, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Dear Scott: According to a Global research article published in 2014: “The U.S. military has allowed poppy cultivation to continue in order to appease farmers and government officials involved with the drug trade who might otherwise turn against the Afghan Karzai government in Kabul. Fueling both sides, in fact, the opium and heroin industry is both a product of the war and an essential source for continued conflict.” That is why US has allowed this trade in heroin to go on.

    • March 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm

      A lot of Indochinese heroin came in body bags with the dead storm troopers. There are a lot of returning “empty” military transport .planes

  22. Hans Zandvliet
    March 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Says a CIA chief to a marines general:
    “How many times have I told you to PROTECT our poppy fields, NOT SMOKE them?!!!
    How do you expect us to topple Iran, without the sales of Heroin?!!!
    By selling arms to the Contras, this time?!!!
    Go get them poppies back from the Taliban, you idiot!!!

  23. mike
    March 7, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Well, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (hee-hee) almost all of the herion consumed in the US is grown and processed in Mexico, and almost all the Fentanyl comes from China.

    https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-opioid-epidemic

    just sayin’

    • Skip Scott
      March 7, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      I’ve just read that 90% of the world’s heroin originates in Afghanistan. I’ve also read that over 90% of US heroin comes from Mexico. That’s a whole lot of heroin going someplace other than the USA. I haven’t heard anything about heroin epidemics outside of the USA and Europe. It seems to me these numbers don’t add up. Europe’s entire population is about double ours, and I don’t think their rate of addiction is as high. I’m from Arizona, and from what I understand, the Mexican heroin is mostly brown, and the Afghan heroin is white.
      I could be wrong.

      • Hans Zandvliet
        March 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm

        How about CIA flights with heroin from Afghanistan to Mexico and then on to the US?
        The CIA has got all of its smugling infrastructure (for Columbian cocaine into the US) in Mexico.

        • Skip Scott
          March 7, 2018 at 5:06 pm

          Yeah Hans, I suppose that makes the most sense.

        • Bob Van Noy
          March 7, 2018 at 8:03 pm

          Thank you Hans Zandvliet, see my Daniel Hopsicker link above. Thanks.

        • March 7, 2018 at 10:45 pm

          I believe that Texan dudes airfield in ? Costa Rica? was the main Contra supporting CIA cocaine hub.

        • March 8, 2018 at 7:49 pm

          Apparently some 90+% of the heroin in Canada comes from Afghanistan. Why is Canada never mentioned in the contest of sources of heroine???

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 7, 2018 at 5:53 pm

        Hey Skip Robert Parry tried to tell us, and Gary Webb (in my opinion) was killed trying to tell us Americans, but the real problem is the omission of the MSM. Now they are trying to wipe out diversity journalism on the internet, as they will never stop to cover up and tell us more lies.

        Boy, I hope I’m around long enough to watch the startled faces of my fellow Americans the day when the truth finally does come out. Maybe it will be a 10 hour series of Oliver Stones, or who knows maybe Paul Craig Roberts or Ray McGovern will get some quality air time, but regardless the future does have a date in mind for when these revelations will come to be. Joe

        • March 8, 2018 at 11:10 am

          I doubt there was any reason to kill Gary Webb since the MSM did such a great job of neutralizing him. Just so you know, anyone who has had a long career in Shock/Trauma ICU nursing at a large university hospital (as I have) has seen people admitted after attempted suicides that suffered one or even two gunshot wounds to the head (I’ve seen the 2 shots to the head survival thing twice, plus someone that survived one to the chest and one to the head). the problem is that people have poor anatomical knowledge or they flinch and thus miss their brains on the first shot (as Gary Webb appears to have done). Sadly these same individuals have even missed with the second shot, though of course not always. The shot to the mouth that simply blows the victim’s sinuses and upper jaw apart is most common error. Feel free to use google scholar to look for peer reviewed articles on this sort of thing. Again, a suicide that involves two shots is not uncommon and proves nothing in terms of the suicide actually being a botched murder.

      • March 7, 2018 at 10:46 pm

        Used to be Afghans only did opium but now they do Heroin.

    • John Hawk
      March 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      ..disinformation!

    • Monte George Jr.
      March 8, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Mike – If the CFR claimed that today is Thursday, I would check my calendar before I believed it. All propaganda, all the time.

      • mike
        March 8, 2018 at 3:07 pm

        Oh I know, and I agree. But this Daniel Hopsicker guy looks shaky too.

  24. Rich
    March 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    What I find interesting is this article juxtaposed with the news of the US’s “war” on opiates. I agree there is a problem that early education and treatment-based solutions, if implemented, could possibly help (among other solutions, of course). So far the only real targets seems to be the deep-pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and prescription over-users. As for illicit use…we need to build a wall and spend more money on law enforcement to apparently stop this bountiful harvest. The only people I see really being impacted by these efforts are the elderly and indigent who will be at a loss w/ the new medicare/medicaid guidelines which cuts accepted amounts of painkillers significantly. The bright side is to it is the politicians will be able to point to a decrease in “abuse/overutilization” with a much easier-to-study class of people (as opposed to street users). At the same time, this record crop of opium will somehow find its way to everyone else…

  25. March 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Supporting the Taliban but also an estimated 1/3 of the Pakistani economy…and some untold fraction of the CIA’s dark money

  26. mike k
    March 7, 2018 at 11:45 am

    The afghan war is illegal and immoral. It is a continuing war crime perpetrated by the USA. All the blood being spilled there is the responsibility of our unelected oligarchic rulers, otherwise known as the Deep State. These folks are the greatest criminals on the planet, who will probably destroy everything before they are done.

    • mike k
      March 7, 2018 at 11:48 am

      To call the democrat party democratic is a sick joke.

      • March 7, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        To call it the “democrat” party is a sad Republican attempt to remove the word “democracy” from the language. Anyone who does so cannot be taken seriously, no matter how bad some of the Dems may be.

        • mike k
          March 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm

          Why call a party a democracy when it is ruled by a relative handful of oligarchs?

        • Nancy
          March 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          The Democrats are not even the lesser of two evils; they are the more effective evil. They still have people like you convinced that they are on our side even as they support the same wars and banksters as the Republicans. They make good, phony speeches (see Barack Obama) but their deeds belie their words. Watch what they do, rather than believing their lies.

      • Annie
        March 7, 2018 at 4:22 pm

        Here’s another sick joke about the so called democratic party.
        “Bigoted,” “outrageous,” and “disgusting” were just a handful of the many adjectives critics used to denounce Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) speech this week before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which attributed ongoing Middle East conflict not to Israel’s decades of brutal U.S.-backed occupation of Palestinian territories, but to Palestinians’ failure to “believe in the Torah.”

        “The fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East,” Schumer told the audience gathered for AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. “Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin.”

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 7, 2018 at 5:42 pm

          Annie it got to make one wonder to how far the U.S. needs to go to protect this questionable little stolen nation. I mean it isn’t as though the Israeli’s are on the side of what’s right. We Americans should question this support of Israel, because maybe if we do we can then regain our values we have so lose along the way. I mean every institution seems to be corrupted with double standards, and people see this. We have police killing unarmed citizens, and then a judge allows them to walk free. Our kids growing up don’t remember an America without heavy security, or a time without swat teams surrounding a house suspected of wrong doing. And then we come to our support of a racist nation and the way they mistreat their Palestinian indigenous, and I ask you Annie, what happened to our nation’s values? Did we ever have any values to begin with? Could we somehow bring our nation to adopt quality values, and could we live up to that goal?

          I might also add I do believe the U.S. is sliding, and that in time the U.S. will need to join a multi-polar sovereign world of nations. Our tariffs will reflect the tariffs imposed by other nations upon us. Our nuclear weapons will be equaled or surpassed by other nations, so ABM treaties will be a no brainer to sign. We will need to respect borders, as our CIA will need to become a collection data agency instead of it being a covert operation used against over throwing other governments.

          It doesn’t need to be bad, falling from our worldly pedestal, but to make it better America will need to clean house, and clean every inch and every nook and cranny and then some to rid ourselves of these terrible warmongers.

          And after saying that I’m going to stand in the middle of the interstate and see how good I am at having the speeding trucks and cars miss me, because I stand a better chance at that than my comment does to becoming a reality. Sorry having one of those downer moments.

          Just some food for thought Annie. Joe

          • Annie
            March 7, 2018 at 7:42 pm

            Joe, the statement you made below that Americans have no clue as to what is going on in Afghanistan, and nor do they care is the most depressing to me, which is the diminished sense of being able to identify with the other. Our individual and collective narcissism is disturbing. I think the breakdown of communities has contributed a lot to our distorted values. I grew up in a very encapsulated Italian community, and one might think that’s not a good thing, but it was. At nine my hand went through a glass window which severed all the tendons in my right arm. My mother was shopping a few blocks away, but my friend’s nonna was there and swaddled my hand in her apron, and rushed me to the local pharmacist who bandaged it.  Two men next door drove me to the hospital in their truck. A neighborhood doctor who lived with his mother, and although not involved in my surgery, would stop me when ever he saw me to see if my hand was on the mend.  You’re part of something bigger, and it’s not all about you. I believe in woman’s lib, but back then one salary could bring home the bacon. It was nice to come home and see your Mom and there was time for her to check up on your day and help with homework, and of course your grandma lived and died with family. Not perfect, but better then latch key kids who are stuck in front of a TV until their mother’s come home, and are barraged with advertisements trying to hook them on things. And maybe there’s a father and maybe there isn’t. It’s become a more capitalistic oriented world, where things replace the human connection, but they can’t. I really believe the break down of community and family have contributed to our distorted values. Not to mention a media that didn’t overwhelm you with lies and distortions and made you think the whole world was the other.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm

            Annie one of the better things about the 50’s is that it was fairly good common practice for one parent to stay home with the kids. We evolved little by little until by the end of the 80’s when most American households wishing to remain in their 70’s lifestyle needed both parents to work. You know this story, but you are right, we have loss elements of cohesion which keeps a society together.

            If we were to somehow manage to get to return to those pass days that an average American young adult couple could allow for one parent to stay home, it wouldn’t mean it had to be a certain gender. Besides maternal leave policies could be crafted to aid at this goal, but reasonable standard wage policies would correct much of this problem.

            By the way I literally grew up next store to my Italian Grandma & 2 Aunts, and about a mile from my 5th American generation German ethnicity grandma….. those would be the days to return America back too when it seemed great, although we would be wise to tweak a few things we did back then, also. How our world could come to attain or return to those days of accountable & responsible adult sensibilities, if you like, I don’t know. ‘All we need is love’.

            Sorry about the Afghanistan comment that stressed you a little. These are trying times, but somehow we all need to try and find an escape or a safe place to visit for a while. My dad never worried like a normal person, and he constantly kept reminding me to how I worried too much, and if stuff happened then we just took care of it when it did. That worked for my dad, but if that mindset doesn’t workout for ya then do like my friend who was and still is into Transcendental Meditation, and take 20 minutes 2 times a day and close your eyes and find your happy thought. If you don’t do that then don’t drink and drive, and buy the first round so then you can leave the bar early….take care I talk to much. Joe

          • March 8, 2018 at 10:37 am

            We used to joke that back in the late 1940’s we should have set Israel up in the deserts of Utah instead of the holy land, ,built a wall around the entire state and let the “Bleed the beast” Mormons and Zionist Israelis enjoy each other’s company…

        • mike k
          March 7, 2018 at 6:38 pm

          It’s really hard to say anything bad enough about the disaster the democratic party has revealed itself to be.

          • Annie
            March 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

            Bad enough the democrats are in collusion with the National Security State in pushing Russia-gate, but they’re also pushing people more to the right when they see what the so called left is doing.

          • March 8, 2018 at 10:56 am

            The Democratic party is of course a disappointment in so many ways but not quite so disappointing at the Republicans. There actually are some decent people holding office as Democrats, while I can’t actually say that about the Republicans (with the possible exception of a few county sheriffs scattered here and there about the country). Unfortunately, until you start that successful 3rd party ( and hopefully a 4th) that can do some effective coalition building, Yer gonna have to hold your nose and work with what ya got. Currently the green party holds something like 0.02% of all elected offices in this country and simply are not a realistic choice. While the libertarians may be slightly more serious,they are after all ( as the cliche goes…) simply republicans that smoke dope….or worse. By worse, I mean wealthy people who think that Republican Democracy (or any Democracy) violates their rights because having to do what the majority of “little people” want instead of what they themselves consider to be in their interest, oppresses them. Simply put, the little people don’t count and thus shouldn’t be able to use the power of government to inconvenience the wealthy. The demand for absolute political purity at this juncture is a fool’s game. The statement that there is no difference between the parties was what got George W. Bush close enough for the SC to elect him in 2000 and even if Gore had continued the murderous Iraq sanctions and weekly bombings, I think it’s unlikely that he would have started the current shit snowball we have in the mid east right now. I think saying that there was little difference between Trumpkin and Hillary was also a bill of sale being sold by people with ulterior motives.

        • John Hawk
          March 7, 2018 at 9:40 pm

          Schumer talking about the Torah? LMAO. Schumer et al are Talmudists Ashkanzim! oy vey!

        • Zhu Bajie
          March 10, 2018 at 5:20 am

          Dispensationalism is a big part of US support for Israel, as well as our own Cowboys and Indians mythology. US Fundamentalists need a Jewish state, with temple and sacrifices, to make Jesus come back soon. They sometimes think Palestinians are the biblical Philistines and thus have no right to live.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      After 17 years, and yet hardly does any American have a clue to what Afghanistan is all about, or possibly by now do they care, but as the clock ticks away so does the slow pace hidden war in Afghanistan go with it.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 7, 2018 at 10:42 pm

        See how you feel about this letter addressed to the American people.

        https://www.sott.net/article/379350-Russell-Bentleys-letter-to-the-American-people

        • Thomas Phillips
          March 8, 2018 at 11:16 am

          That guy’s one cool dude. The American people need to heed his advice. Every time I hear the public service message on the radio about the millions of children in this country that go to bed hungry each night, the first thing I think about is the several hundred billions of dollars that’s wasted by the Pentagon and intelligence agencies each year.

  27. Drew Hunkins
    March 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Of course opiate use and addiction have always been an issue in the United States throughout the last several decades. But anyone who observes society with a keen eye noticed something fairly obvious — very soon after the Bush/Cheney/Ziocon invasion of Afghanistan more and more heroin started to flood the streets of our towns and cities here back home.

    Couple this increased war production in the poppy fields of Afghanistan with the Sacklers more socially acceptable drug pushing and we see the clear result: a nation dealing with an opioid addiction problem ravishing our economically hard pressed heartland.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      Drew wouldn’t you love to see who the heroin distributors are who are buying up this commodity by the tons from the Taliban? I mean just who are they?

      • March 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

        back i n the day the heroin pipeline involved our old friends in the KLA….such nice folks that we bombed Belgrade in their defense…or so the story goes.

      • mike
        March 7, 2018 at 1:55 pm

        Exactly! It is never discussed.

        • mike
          March 7, 2018 at 1:57 pm

          or where the Taliban get their weapons

      • Drew Hunkins
        March 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        Exactly. Me thinks the big money works its way into international financial conglomerates. I know for years banks around southern Florida have had big surpluses (I can’t remember exactly the terminology) and, to make a long story short, experts surmise it was ultimately laundered drug money profits.

      • Drew Hunkins
        March 7, 2018 at 7:13 pm

        Exactly. Me thinks the big money works its way into international financial conglomerates. I know for years banks around southern Florida have had big surpluses (I can’t remember exactly the terminology) and, to make a long story short, experts surmise it was ultimately laundered drug money profits.

      • Bob Van Noy
        March 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Thank you Joe, few people know more about this subject than Daniel Hopsicker. I’ll provide a link.

        http://www.madcowprod.com

      • March 7, 2018 at 10:39 pm

        The Hollywood movie “Air America” documented the CIA smuggling Indochinese Heroin. The San Jose Mercury reporter who “shot himself in the head a couple of times” documented the CIA initiating the crack cocaine epidemic in LA. Who do you think is bringing heroin in from Afghanistan? The precursor for producing Heroin is arriving in Tanker Trucks from Pakistan through USA checkpoints and the precursor has no other usage in Afghanistan except Heroin production. CIA owned “Air America” was the largest cargo air service in the USA.

      • tjoe
        March 15, 2018 at 10:10 am

        The community to the south has all….YES ALL…. of it’s court officers involved in the drug trade. They are protecting the distributors and the dealers are telling law enforcement who their customers are. Dealers never get in trouble there. Prosecutor and Judges are part of the distribution and know who all the users are (and how to leverage that info). US is sick….and the lying lawyers put into public office are the problem.

    • March 7, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      The worst part of the opiate epidemic is not heroin but the synthetic opiates.

  28. E. Leete
    March 7, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Shall I be the first to note that the lack of solutions is not a bug but a feature and that its purpose is, as always, to enrich the weapons purveyors and banksters for as long as the lie-buying citizenry of the invading country will keep cannonfoddering their children? Quick now, Moms and Dads; get your 13 year old enrolled in JROTC (like Nicholas Cruz was) so they can grow up to earn the respect of their country (according to the billboards plastered around my city). I recently wrote to my local state senator asking him to make it easier for parents to protect their kids from military recruiters by making opt out a simple choice on page one of registration and was told the military had “the time-earned tradition to recruit kids same as colleges and employers”.

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 7, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Many thanks for that reminder E. Leete. The Patriot ACT had child recruitment built in. Here is a paragraph from ACLU complaint about the program.

      “Children as young as 14 may enroll in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs, which operate at over 3,000 junior high schools, middle schools and high schools nationwide.41 JROTC programs are offered at approximately 18 percent of high schools, are an integral part of the formal curriculum in at least 1,555 high schools, and exist in all of the 50 states.42 The Army has JROTC programs in 1,682 high schools; the Navy maintains programs in 613 high schools; the Air Force has programs in 797 high schools; and the Marines have programs in 216 high schools (not including Puerto Rico).43 Approximately 273,000 high school JROTC “cadets” participated in the program in 2005, an increase from 231,000 in 1999.44”

      https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/humanrights/crc_report_20080513.pdf

      • Zhu Bajie
        March 10, 2018 at 5:04 am

        For a lot of poor kids, the military is the best hope of going to college.

        • Didi
          March 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm

          That was true in the Prussia of the 19th century. Germany? No more.

  29. March 7, 2018 at 11:19 am

    My impression is the the Afghan opium trade was almost ceased under the Taliban and has grown to number one world supplier with the US there.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    • Mike Martin
      March 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      My understanding is the same. This is from Wikipedia:
      In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, collaborating with the United Nations to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world’s most successful anti-drug campaigns. The Taliban enforced a ban on poppy farming via threats, forced eradication, and public punishment of transgressors. The result was a 99% reduction in the area of opium poppy farming in Taliban-controlled areas, roughly three quarters of the world’s supply of heroin at the time.[18] The ban was effective only briefly due to the deposition of the Taliban in 2002.

      I have seen the opinion expressed that one of the reasons the US invaded Afghanistan was that the Taliban’s efforts to eradicate the opium trade was negatively impacting the CIA’s ability to fund it’s otherwise unfunded covert activities. We know for certain that the CIA has been heavily involved in the illegal drug trade from the revelations of CIA drug running in southeast Asia as well as Central America. We also know from historical accounts that many fortunes among “respectable families” in the US and England were made via the opium trade.

      So, what bothers me about the above article is what appears at best to be ignoring these facts. That begs the question of whether the author is ignorant of these things or is attempting to push an alternative narrative, i.e., “fake news”.

      • March 7, 2018 at 12:23 pm

        The other factor is the Pakistanis relied on their cut of the Afgan opium market so to go to war with the Taliban with the help of the pakistanis and also get the cooperation of various Norther Alliance war lords, we would have had to agree to allow people to again grow poppies

      • March 7, 2018 at 9:56 pm

        The UN also paid the Taliban $10 million for the eradication.

      • geeyp
        March 8, 2018 at 2:08 am

        Hello Mike – Your information is my info as well. Good post.

      • john wilson
        March 8, 2018 at 4:15 am

        Mike: its my belief and that of many others that the opium trade in Afghanistan supports the CIA and other actors in the deep state. Its most likely that the military in Afghanistan are there to be a conduit for the distribution of this vile drug. If you ever read catch 22 you will remember Milo Mindbender who used military transport for all sorts of nefarious activities. America is saturated with drugs and you can’t tell me that the Afghan farmer delivers his stuff in a van! This operation is huge and requires sophisticated logistics, so what could be simpler than military transport?

      • Brad Owen
        March 8, 2018 at 8:23 am

        Those “respectable” families are still filthy with drug money. It is the single biggest liquid asset for the Trans-Atlantic Financier Empire. It was so lucrative that the British Empire farmed out its slave trade in the 1790s to the Spanish and Portuguese Empires (all franchise members of the New Roman Empire Inc/LLC, along with the rest of the global Oligarchy here and abroad…an Empire upon which the Sun never sets, but Enlightenment never dawns).

      • March 8, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        You seem to have forgotten that one of the reasons for our invasion of Afghanistan had to do with 9/11 and the Taliban refusal to turn Osama bin Laden over to us for trial.???

        • MikeMartin
          March 8, 2018 at 11:46 pm

          My understanding is that the government of Afghanistan (the “Taliban”) did not flat out refuse to extradite bin Laden, but asked the US to provide evidence of Osama bin Laden’s guilt, and the US refused.

          Given the accumulated and now overwhelming evidence of controlled demotion of at WT-7 and most likely the twin towers also, the US refusal to provide evidence of bin Laden’s guilt is not surprising as it would be difficult indeed to produce that which did not exist.

          • Zhu Bajie
            March 10, 2018 at 4:50 am

            It would have been easy to invent evidence it the Bush II administration had wanted to.

        • Zhu Bajie
          March 10, 2018 at 4:48 am

          Actually, the Afghan government did offer to send Bin Laden to a third country, but asked for some evidence, so that they could have the equivalent of an extradition trial and thus a fig leaf of legality. Bush the Conqueror refused.

          I can’t help suspecting one reason was that Bush wanted to fulfill a fantasy of being a great military hero like Grant or his hero Churchill, to get rid of his reputation as a life-long f*ck-up. Well, he f*cked up again. Had he negotiated, he could have had Bin Laden sent to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or some Islamic vassal, to be tried and hanged in 6 months.1

          • March 11, 2018 at 6:51 pm

            It was my understanding that it was bin Laden himself that offered to leave in secret to some unspecified country but the US refused. We wanted to put him on trial in the US. Then the ultimatum to the Taliban that they refused, knowing that it would put them at war with the most powerful military in the world. The Afghans do not respond well to ultimatums but are always willing to negotiate, something we have never understood over the past 17 or so years.

      • March 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

        Hi, one of the authors of the above article here.

        I wouldn’t attempt to address every one of the 100+ comments here, but yours touches on a particularly interesting topic.

        So first just a bit of context on your remarks. The Taliban’s prohibition of opium in 2000 should be viewed in light of the drought that was then plaguing Afghanistan. The Taliban was looking to appeal to the international community for aid, so went through with this policy. In May of 2001 the US actually awarded the Taliban regime some $43 million in aid for that very reason:
        the devastating drought (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/sep/14/afghanistan.september11). Interesting that just a few months later we would invade.

        In the years prior, from 1996, when the Taliban rose to power in Kabul, to 1999, the Taliban actively encouraged poppy cultivation and made a lot of money taxing the traffic. The idea that the Taliban was somehow ideologically or principally opposed to opium production is simply mistaken. Prohibition was the outlier, not the rule.

        While the 2000 ban was successful in reducing the poppy crop, the policy ended up crippling the Taliban. Not only did it destroy their tax revenues, it also engendered some real resentment in the countryside, where millions people staked their livelihoods on poppies and opium. The US would capitalize on that after our invasion in October of 2001.

        Note that I wouldn’t deny that American intelligence agencies have been involved in the drug trade. It’s documented that American soldiers protect the poppy fields (read “revenue streams”) of our Northern Alliance allies. This simply was not the focus of the article my co-author and I wrote above.

        I’m open to evidence that shows American complicity in opium production in the Kandahar and Helmand Provinces, where the Taliban holds sway. I just haven’t seen much of that. Most of what I hear are vague claims of murky US involvement in the drug trade in general, which doesn’t do much to support this specific notion.

        Anyway, I appreciate your interest.

    • Tom Welsh
      March 7, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Absolutely right. The Taliban, like many other religious fundamentalists (and others) believe that all drugs are evil – they make little distinction between beer, tobacco and heroin. Before the US invasion they had quite nearly eradicated drug cultivation from Afghanistan.

      Today Afghanistan leads the world in heroin production – a multi-billion dollar business. Many of us find it very hard to avoid thinking that the CIA, which requires vast amounts of money not all of which is provided by Congress, could have become the world’s biggest drug supplier.

      • March 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

        also because Colin Powell went and payed the Taliban millions of dollars to enforce the poppy ban, or so the story goes.

        • nonsense factory
          March 7, 2018 at 7:24 pm

          Apparently the largest foreign aid donor to the Taliban, 2000-2001, was the United States; back channel amounts via Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are not publicly reported, however:

          “May 17, 2001: US Gives Taliban Millions for Poppy Ban
          Secretary of State Powell announces that the US is granting $43 million in aid to the Taliban government, purportedly to assist hungry farmers who are starving since the destruction of their opium crop occurred in January on orders of the Taliban. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5/22/2001] Powell promises that the US will “continue to look for ways to provide more assistance to the Afghans.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 4/13/2004] And in fact, in the same month Powell asks Congress to give Afghanistan $7 million more, to be used for regional energy cooperation and to fight child prostitution. [COLL, 2004, PP. 559] This follows $113 million given by the US in 2000 for humanitarian aid. [US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 12/11/2001] A Newsday editorial notes that the Taliban “are a decidedly odd choice for an outright gift… Why are we sending these people money—so much that Washington is, in effect, the biggest donor of aid to the Taliban regime?” [NEWSDAY, 5/29/2001] However, there were allegations that the drug ban was merely a means for the Taliban to drive up prices ”

          Source: Historycommons.org

          • robjira
            March 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm

            Thanks for the link to Historycommons. I’ve been looking for another article in the LA Times from around the same time that featured a rare public admission by the CIA that they were supporting the Taliban’s efforts to consolidate power. Historycommons seems like a good place to check.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 7, 2018 at 11:42 pm

            I hope I’m not butting in, but I went to historycommons.org and found this…..

            “Shortly After September 11, 2001: US Decides Not to Bomb Drug-Related Targets in AfghanistanEdit event
            Before 9/11, US intelligence had collected a list of potential bombing targets in Afghanistan (see Late August 1998-2001). The list is said to include 20 to 25 major drug labs and other drug-related facilities. But according to a CIA source, when the list is turned over to the US military after 9/11, the Pentagon and White House refuse to order the bombing of any of the drug-related targets. This CIA source complains, “On the day after 9/11, that target list was ready to go, and the military and the [National Security Council] threw it out the window. We had tracked these [targets] for years. The drug targets were big places, almost like small towns that did nothing but produce heroin. The British were screaming for us to bomb those targets, because most of the heroin in Britain comes from Afghanistan. But they refused.” This source believes that if the US had bombed those targets, “it would have slowed down drug production in Afghanistan for a year or more.” [RISEN, 2006, PP. 154] The US will continue to avoid taking action against drug operations in Afghanistan (see February 2002).
            Entity Tags: National Security Council, White House
            Timeline Tags: War in Afghanistan”

            Besides being grateful for the information about the site, I found much more to reflect upon than this quoted excerpt. Thanks nonsense factory. Joe

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 7, 2018 at 11:44 pm

            Add this one, as it only gets better, and decisively more interesting….

            “February 2002: US Military Determined to Avoid Counter-Narcotics Operations in AfghanistanEdit event
            According to one former National Security Council official, Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith argues in a White House meeting that since counter-narcotics is not part of the war on terrorism, the Pentagon doesn’t want to get involved in it. The former official complains, “We couldn’t get [the US military] to do counter-narcotics in Afghanistan.” Author James Risen comments, “American troops were there to fight terrorists, not suppress the poppy crop, and Pentagon officials didn’t see a connection between the two. The Pentagon feared that counter-narcotics operations would force the military to turn on the very same warlords who were aiding the United States against the Taliban, and that would lead to another round of violent attacks on American troops.” [RISEN, 2006, PP. 154] Immediately after 9/11, the US had decided not to bomb drug-related targets in Afghanistan and continued not to do so (see Shortly After September 11, 2001).
            Entity Tags: Douglas Feith
            Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline
            Category Tags: Drug Economy, US Counter-Narcotics Operations”

            taken from historycommons.org

          • March 11, 2018 at 7:35 pm

            This was not my impression between 1998-05 when I was periodically working in Helmand with the rehabilitation of the central Helmand irrigation system (which we helped build between 1946-79). The Taliban had little funding to do anything, having virtually no tax base. They were collecting some 10% in kind of the opium produced and kept the cotton gin open and functioning. And the farmers continued to produce cotton as well as opium until 2000. Our diplomats continued to talk to the Taliban but I was unaware of any large amounts of money being paid. Our media at the time, quoting our diplomats, criticized the Taliban for banning opium without offering the farmers an alternative. I remember one of our people noted that he had talked with the Taliban for at least 15 minutes about key issues. For more details written at the time, see my website:www. scottshelmandvalleyarchives.org

    • Tom Welsh
      March 7, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      “By 2001 the Taliban in Afghanistan had reduced opium production by 97 percent. As a result of Washington’s invasion, opium production jumped from 185 tons to 9,000 tons. It is this supply that fuels the massive increase in heroin addiction in the US”.

      https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/

    • Tom Welsh
      March 7, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      “The Real Afghanistan Surge is in Heroin Production and Tripled Opium Cultivation since the US military arrived/ UN and US Government documents”

      http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/09/the-real-afghanistan-surge-is-in-heroin-production-and-tripled-opium-cultivation-since-the-us-military-arrived-un-and-us-government-documents.html

    • godenich
      March 7, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      The article neglects to mention a small detail[1,2] that may derail any narrative for continuing our military occupation of Afghansitan and rather raise serious concern about who is really directing opium cultivation, distribution and sale[3].

      [1] Taliban’s Ban On Poppy A Success, U.S. Aides Say | New York Times | May, 2001
      [2] Taliban destroy poppy fields in surprise clampdown on Afghan opium growers | Guardian | 2012
      [3] A Conspiracy Theory that became a “Conspiracy Fact”: The CIA, Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields and America’s Growing Heroin Epidemic | Global Research | 2007

      • godenich
        March 8, 2018 at 11:57 am

        Economic Addendum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Afghanistan

        “Since the downfall of the Taliban in 2001, cultivation and trafficking of opium has increased significantly. Throughout the country regional militia commanders, criminal organizations and corrupt government officials have engaged in drug trafficking as a source of revenue. Some anti-government groups make profit from the drug trafficking. Due to these factors, drug trafficking increases political instability in the nation, and is a threat to the country’s weak internal security and embryonic democratic government.”

        “Unemployment among a large portion of the population and rudimentary basic services are major factors behind crime.”

        • Zhu Bajie
          March 10, 2018 at 5:02 am

          Take it for granted that a lot of the corruptoids are Americans, too.

    • March 8, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      You are correct. Without help, the Taliban successfully banned the cultivation of opium the crop season just before our invasion but retured during the period immediately following the invasion when there were great doubts about the effectiveness of the new coming government that turned out to be one of the most corrupt in the world..

    • Maria S Calef
      March 9, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Garret Cnnelly You are perfectly right a super analysis.

Comments are closed.