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Taliban, the Opium Billions and the Bank bailouts

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posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 10:06 AM
As President Obama and his advisors debate future troop levels for Afghanistan, a new report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) muddies the water on one of the most important issues in the debate — the effects of Afghanistan's drug production.

The report, entitled "Addiction, Crime, and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium," gives the false impression that the Taliban are the main culprits behind Afghanistan's skyrocketing drug production. It also implies that drugs are the main reason why the Taliban are gaining in strength, absolving the United States and NATO of their own responsibility in fomenting the insurgency.

In fact, the United States and their Afghan allies bear a large share of responsibility for the drug industry's dramatic expansion since the invasion. Buried deep in the report, its authors admit that reduced levels of drug production would have little effect on the insurgency's vigor.

UNODC states that a decade ago the Taliban earned $85 million per year from drugs, but that since 2005 this figure has jumped to $125 million. The report estimates that only 10-15% of Taliban funding is drawn from drugs and 85% comes from "nonopium sources."

The total revenue generated by opiates within Afghanistan is about $3.4 billion per year. Of this figure, according to UNODC, the Taliban get only 4% of the sum. Farmers, meanwhile, get 21%.

The remaining 75% is captured by government officials, the police, local and regional power brokers and traffickers — in short, many of the groups now supported (or tolerated) by the United States and NATO are important actors in the drug trade.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

Impunity for drug lords and warlords continues: a U.S. Senate report noted in August that no major traffickers have been arrested in Afghanistan since 2006, and that successful prosecutions of significant traffickers are often overturned by a simple bribe or protection from above, revealing counternarcotics efforts to be deficient at best.

The report says that over the last seven years (2002-2008), the transnational trade in Afghan opiates resulted in worldwide sales of $400-$500 billion (retail value). Only 5-10% of this is estimated to be laundered by informal banking systems (such as hawala). The remainder is laundered through the legal economy, and importantly, through Western banks.

In fact, Antonio Maria Costa was quoted as saying that drug money may have recently rescued some failing banks: "interbank loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal activities," and there were "signs that some banks were rescued in that way." "At a time of major bank failures, money doesn't smell, bankers seem to believe," he wrote in UNODC's 2009 World Drug Report.

Not the sort of news they like to put on the T.V is it?


posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 10:31 AM
I don't have much to add to this, so almost didn't post, but I have to say, this is a big story and I'm surprised we're not hearing more about it in the news.

It's something that I've been sort of following myself, but this new report does a great job of putting it in perspective.

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 11:10 AM
I'll take this one step further to say that by falsely blaming the Taliban for the drug trade they also help to prop up the atrocity known as the War on Drugs.

It's an amazing little system of corruption they have going isn't it - where the US and UN secretly ramps up drug production and distribution and blames it on the Taliban thereby providing another excuse to be at war with them. Those government sponsored drugs "find their way" to the shores of Western countries where they are consumed and sold by users who get arrested and thrown into the jail system - thereby keeping the money flowing through the prison system and allowing for the statistics of those caught using it to be inflated and used as ammunition for the War on Drugs - which is used as one of the reasons to destroy the Taliban.

The rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper doesn't it

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 11:47 AM
The question probably asked was How do we get a corrupt but strategicaly important drug lord/local leader to tip the local politics in our favour?

What answer do you all come too?

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 03:04 PM
Thanks for the fine sources OP.

A few years after the Taliban came to power they began a campaign to eradicate Afghanistan’s opium crops, and “The success of Afghanistan’s 2000 drug eradication program under the Taliban government was recognized by the United Nations” as a monumental feat, in that “no other country was able to implement a comparable program.”[12] In October of 2001, the UN acknowledged that the Taliban reduced opium production in Afghanistan from 3300 tons in 2000 to 185 tons in 2001.[13]

This comes from Afghan heroin & the CIA. This short article provides a overview on the history of the afghan drug trade and is an interesting read. It touches nearly all aspects the OP mentioned.

Here a link to a petition. On this website you can find more truths about the real situation in Afghanistan, hidden behind the MSM-created myths.

With over 90 percent of U.S. funding in Afghanistan directed toward military purposes, non-military strategic options are not being pursued. The problems facing Afghan society are economic, social and political in nature, and require economic, social and political solutions. The U.S. can play a more constructive role in Afghanistan by engaging civil society than by waging war.
Congress should begin debate on civilian alternatives to a failed military-based approach to bringing peace and security to the region, starting with Congressional hearings.

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