I just watched a news story on Al Jazeera.. on Opium production in Afghanistan. The following issues were included :
1) large numbers of people under a bridge, opening consuming the drug (either raw opium or processed heroin), not a cop to be seen. There were dead bodies lying amongst them.
2) acres of opium poppies growing/under production, some in plain sight of military & police stations.
3) there was a token gesture (for the camera) of a ‘counter-narcotics’ group destroying a field, by running over it with a tractor. The chief officer said that they only have funds to do small operations. The reporter stated only a few acres were ever destroyed, whilst thousands of acres are under production.
4) a UN officer of ‘drugs & crime’ even conceded that the new president of Afghanistan has NOT said it is a priority of the Govt.
5) they have set up a drug court to ‘prosecute’ the dealers, but few if any ‘kingpins’ are ever caught. The reporter stated that one ‘kingpin’ had apparently escaped from custody, it was widely known that a large bribe was paid.
6) the reporter went out with a smuggler. He was shown several large bags of opium. He stated that they were protected by the Taliban. The Taliban are supposedly opposed to the drug, but money secures their services.
7) the report closed with the reporter visiting a huge field.. just days from harvest. They showed a few graphics, highlighting that since the USA invasion; opium production has skyrocketed. They also said that the USA did very little or nothing to stem this tide. They are more focused on fighting the Taliban.
8) the farmer stated clearly that he would prefer to grow other plants, but none are as lucrative as ‘poppy’ & even the Govt. & Police give them protection/support to do so (lining their own pockets from it) !!
Whilst I do not support this drug trade, I am more opposed to the ‘War on drugs’ & the resultant black market.. that creates unregulated/uncontrolled sales/production & massive CORRUPTION.