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In 2007, 93% of the opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan.
Thousands of US Marines poured into Afghanistan's southern Helmand province this week to take the battle against the Taliban to the foe's stronghold. But in a startling departure from decades of US anti-drug policy, eradicating Helmand's massive opium poppy crop will not be part of their larger mission.
But in 2000 the Taliban banned opium production, a first in Afghan history. In 2000, Afghanistan's opium production still accounted for 75% of the world's supply. On 27 July 2000, the Taliban again issued a decree banning opium poppy cultivation. According to opioids.com, by February 2001, production had been reduced from 12,600 acres (51 km2) to only 17 acres (7 ha). When the Taliban entered north Waziristan in 2003 they immediately banned poppy cultivation and punished those who sold it.
Mullah Amir Mohammed Haqqani, the Taliban's top drug official in Nangarhar, said the ban would remain regardless of whether the Taliban received aid or international recognition. "It is our decree that there will be no poppy cultivation. It is banned forever in this country," he said. "Whether we get assistance or not, poppy growing will never be allowed again in our country."
However, with the 2001 US/Northern Alliance expulsion of the Taliban, opium cultivation has increased in the southern provinces liberated from the Taliban control, and by 2005 production was 87% of the world's opium supply, rising to 90% in 2006.
Although there is no evidence that the CIA directly supported the Taliban or Al Qaeda, some basis for military support of the Taliban was provided when, in the early 1980s, the CIA and the ISI (Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency) provided arms to Afghans resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the ISI assisted the process of gathering radical Muslims from around the world to fight against the Soviets. Osama Bin Laden was one of the key players in organizing training camps for the foreign Muslim volunteers. The U.S. poured funds and arms into Afghanistan, and "by 1987, 65,000 tons of U.S.-made weapons and ammunition a year were entering the war."
The Jewish Encyclopedia of 1905, states that Sassoon expanded his opium trade into China and Japan. He placed his eight sons in charge of the various major opium exchanges in China. According to the 1944 Jewish Encyclopedia: "He employed only Jews in his business, and wherever he sent them he built synagogues and schools for them. He imported whole families of fellow Jews. . . and put them to work."
In the new "Peace Treaty" of Oct.25, 1860, the British were assigned rights to vastly expanded opium trade covering seven-eights of China, which brought in over 20 million pounds in 1864 alone. In that year, the Sassoons imported 58,681 chests of opium and by 1880 it had skyrocketed to 105,508 chests making the Sassoons the richest Jews in the world. England was given the Hong Kong peninsula as a colony and large sections of Amoy, Canton, Foochow, Ningpo and Shanghai.
Sassoon married Aline Caroline de Rothschild in 1887 which linked their fortune with that of the Rothschilds.
Following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, in which Britain annexed Bengal to its empire, the British East India Company pursued a monopoly on production and export of Indian opium.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild sent some of William's money to his son Nathan in London, and according to the Jewish Encyclopedia: "Nathan invested it in 800,000 pounds of gold from the East India Company..