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DEA agents along with Special Forces already are rolling up processed poppies — black tar opium — especially in village bazaars in Helmand province, the main location for poppy production.
For much of its eight-year tenure, the Bush administration's counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan were focused on destroying the vast fields of poppy that have long been the source of the world's heroin. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Afghanistan's contribution to the global heroin trade has risen to 93%, according to the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime.
But the Obama administration believes that the effort drove many farmers and influential tribesmen into supporting the Islamist insurgency. The Afghan government and some NATO allies in the country agree.
With the Taliban now controlling large swaths of Afghanistan, traffickers and their networks pay the militants as much as $500 million a year, according to some U.S. and U.N. intelligence estimates, to grow and protect the poppy fields, smuggle the drugs and run sophisticated processing labs and drug bazaars in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.
Similar drug trafficking activity is flourishing in the lawless tribal belt that includes northwestern Pakistan, and it is providing huge amounts of cash to the Pakistani Taliban and possibly Al Qaeda as well, the officials said.
"We see their involvement through just about every stage of drug trafficking, and in each of the four corners of Afghanistan," Thomas Harrigan, deputy administrator and chief of operations for the DEA, said of the Taliban. "They use the money to sustain their operations, feed their fighters, to assist Al Qaeda."
In response, the number of DEA agents and analysts in Afghanistan will rise from 13 to 68 by September, and to 81 in 2010. More agents will also be deployed in Pakistan. It is "the most prolific expansion in DEA history," Harrigan said.
A top gun with the DEA’s Special Operations Division, along with two fellow law enforcers, are not what they seem, if Gaetano (Guy) DiGirolamo Sr., a convicted heroin dealer, is to be believed.
The trio are, in fact, drug dealers themselves, argues Yale law professor Steven B. Duke in court pleadings filed on behalf of his client, DiGirolamo.
Yet when four supervisors, including Dionne, traveled on brief trip to Afghanistan in 2005, they spent more than $700 on boots and uniforms for themselves, according to DEA records.
On longer tours, agents complain that they're not issued ammunition or magazines and are forced to borrow them from fellow agents. Ballistic vests aren't fitted for specific agents. Rifles are issued without laser sights and optics like the military has, and personal locator beacons and GPS systems are hard to come by. Some agents said they end up buying thousands of dollars of equipment themselves.
"The DEA does not have enough resources or equipment to get the job done in Afghanistan," one agent said.
Soviet-Afghan war led to increased production in the Pakistani-Afghani border regions, as U.S.-backed mujaheddin militants raised money for arms from selling opium
At present, opium poppies are mostly grown in Afghanistan, and in Southeast Asia, especially in the region known as the Golden Triangle straddling Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Yunnan province in the People's Republic of China.
Afghanistan retook its place as the world's leading producer of heroin last year, after US-led forces overthrew the Taleban which had banned cultivation of opium poppies. The finding was made in a key drug report, distributed in Kabul on Sunday by the US State Department, which supports almost identical findings by the United Nations last week.
Originally posted by SLAYER69
reply to post by Jakes51
Some Believe the US simply looked the other way while we were in Iraq and allowed the Poppies/heroin business to grow so the people had a means of income. [Pacifying] them until we could devote our full attention to Afghanistan like we are now.
Others feel the CIA wants the money from the drug business so it can finance even more black ops. Still others feel now that the Taliban are in a fight they need the revenue to fund their insurgency...
Answer: IMO all of the above.
Quote from : Golden Crescent
The irony is thick in the air for me because I was just discussing this topic last night in the Blackwater thread supplied below how if the mercenaries are sent over to Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever else, why are we not trying to go after the Asian Golden Triangle, or the Middle Eastern Golden Crescent, and the drug smuggling, and as well the human trafficking because these are the sources for a lot of dirty money being made.
Amazon Review : Washington Post : Minimized Due To Large Quote
The youth is Mohamed bin Laden, justly venerated in Saudi Arabia. But collective memory plays funny tricks, and in the West he will be permanently remembered as the father of Osama.
The bin Ladens, though their Horatio Alger story overlaps Western experience, emerge as unmistakably Middle Eastern -- to the point of being torn asunder by today's religious struggles.
Coll, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Washington Post managing editor, leaves the psychology to his readers.
He prefers writing on economics and politics, leavening them with anecdotes and gossip; the result is a fascinating panorama of a great family, presented within the context of the 9/11 drama.
By the mid-'80s, bin Laden moved beyond money matters to supplying arms to the Afghan irregulars, the mujaheddin, then to recruiting and training Arab militants to fight alongside them.
Arms were now cheap.
The United States was flooding the market, chiefly with Stingers, the anti-aircraft missiles that assured the Russians' defeat.
Coll found no record of CIA meetings with bin Laden.
The agency knew who he was but showed no special interest in him or awareness of the danger his militancy represented.
Amazon Review :
Steve Coll's Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 offers revealing details of the CIA's involvement in the evolution of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the years before the September 11 attacks.
From the beginning, Coll shows how the CIA's on-again, off-again engagement with Afghanistan after the end of the Soviet war left officials at Langley with inadequate resources and intelligence to appreciate the emerging power of the Taliban.
He also demonstrates how Afghanistan became a deadly playing field for international politics where Soviet, Pakistani, and U.S. agents armed and trained a succession of warring factions.
At the same time, the book, though opinionated, is not solely a critique of the agency.
Coll balances accounts of CIA failures with the success stories, like the capture of Mir Amal Kasi. Coll, managing editor for the Washington Post, covered Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992.
He demonstrates unprecedented access to records of White House meetings and to formerly classified material, and his command of Saudi, Pakistani, and Afghani politics is impressive.
He also provides a seeming insider's perspective on personalities like George Tenet, William Casey, and anti-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke ("who seemed to wield enormous power precisely because hardly anyone knew who he was or what exactly he did for a living").
Coll manages to weave his research into a narrative that sometimes has the feel of a Tom Clancy novel yet never crosses into excess. While comprehensive, Coll's book may be hard going for those looking for a direct account of the events leading to the 9-11 attacks.
The CIA's 1998 engagement with bin Laden as a target for capture begins a full two-thirds of the way into Ghost Wars, only after a lengthy march through developments during the Carter, Reagan, and early Clinton Presidencies.
But this is not a critique of Coll's efforts; just a warning that some stamina is required to keep up.
Ghost Wars is a complex study of intelligence operations and an invaluable resource for those seeking a nuanced understanding of how a small band of extremists rose to inflict incalculable damage on American soil. --Patrick O'Kelley --
Quote from : Wikipedia : Operation Cyclone : Funding
The U.S. offered two packages of economic assistance and military sales to support Pakistan's role in the war against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
The first six-year assistance package (1981–87) amounted to US$3.2 billion, equally divided between economic assistance and military sales.
The U.S. also sold 40 F-16 aircraft to Pakistan during 1983–87 at a cost of $1.2 billion outside the assistance package.
The second six-year assistance package (1987–93) amounted to $4.2 billion.
Out of this, $2.28 billion were allocated for economic assistance in the form of grants or loan that carried the interest rate of 2–3 per cent.
The rest of the allocation ($1.74 billion) was in the form of credit for military purchases.
Sale of non-U.S. arms to Pakistan for destination to Afghanistan was facilitated by Israel.
Somewhere between $3–$20 billion in U.S. funds were funneled into the country to train and equip Afghan resistance groups with weapons, including Stinger man-portable air-defense systems.
The program funding was increased yearly due to lobbying by prominent U.S. politicians and government officials, such as Charles Wilson, Gordon Humphrey, Fred Ikle, and William Casey.
Under the Reagan administration, U.S. support for the Afghan mujahideen evolved into a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy, called the Reagan Doctrine, in which the U.S. provided military and other support to anti-communist resistance movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua, and elsewhere.
Amazon Review :
Political movies about backroom negotiations need not be dry or heavy-handed, as Charlie Wilson's War delightfully proves.
Based on the true story of playboy congressman Wilson's efforts to fund Afghanistan's defense against the Soviet invasion of the 1980s, the film is borne along on breezy attitude and a peppery script by West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin.
Wilson, played by Tom Hanks (who also produced), is the perfect hero for this kind of tale, because there's nothing perfect or heroic about him: He's a highball-swilling, fanny-pinching gadabout who becomes radicalized on the issue of helping the Afghans against their mighty aggressor.
He has help in the form of a right-wing Texas anti-Communist (Julia Roberts) with a genius for raising money, and a sardonic CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman, stealing the show) who lacks all the social skills Wilson has in abundance.
Sorkin's syncopated speech is just the ticket for director Mike Nichols, who understands exactly how to keep this kind of political comedy popping (the complicated story comes in at a hair over 90 minutes, amazingly).
Some scoundrels are on the right side of the angels, and the movie's Charlie Wilson is one of them. --Robert Horton