Sometimes the news speaks for itself. I have long contended that one of the main reasons we are in Afghanistan is for the almighty opium poppy dollars.
It’s interesting that by 2000 the Taliban had cut the amount of poppy growth by 90%. But then, by 2002, poppy production increased by about the same amount. Coincidental timing, I’m sure, considering that something historically monumental happened between that time to give the United States a reason to go into Afghanistan.
This is from Al-Jazeera.net in 2008 on opium production:
“The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2008, made public by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Wednesday indicated that there was a decline of 19 per cent in the areas known for poppy cultivation.
The report, also released in conjunction with the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics, said that in the past year five more provinces had become “poppy-free” raising the total to 18 of 34 provinces where poppy cultivation has been stamped out.
Five provinces in southern Afghanistan, including Farah, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Nimroz, now account for 91 per cent of Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation. The province of Helmand alone accounts for 66 per cent of the country’s total.”
The map above is part of a great resource from pbs.org showing this in more visual detail and explaining that the poppy harvest occurs from April until August. Hmmm…did something else start in April, now projected to last until August to keep peoples’ attention otherwise occupied? (Okay, that one is stretching a little, but not by much.)
And this is breaking news from the BBC today:
“The US will take control of about 8,000 British troops in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, later.
The move is part of a restructuring of Nato forces, with command and control in southern Afghanistan split into two.”
“Until now, UK forces took their orders from British Major General Nick Carter, who was in charge of operations in the south.
But the region is being split to make it more manageable.
Gen Carter will oversee Kandahar and Maj Gen Richard Mills, of the US Marine Corps, will command forces in Helmand.”
I guessing that “later” will likely be in the next month or so, just in time to pull another Air America special like they did in Southeast Asia, another opium production hub.
Then again, it could just be another coincidence.
Latest posts by Mark Mansfield (see all)
- U.S. to Take Control of Opium Smuggling in Afghanistan - Jun 1, 2010