Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Afghan Economy

While we are still unable to get complete and accurate information regarding the situation in Iraq the news media have gotten much braver in the last few months, shedding their apparent aversion to angering the powers in the Beltway. But information regarding the center of the real "war on terror", Afghanistan, has remained virtually nonexistent.

Last sunday CBS' 60 Minutes did a piece on one aspect of the country, its burgeoning drug trade. According to the story, the poppy/opium farming trade which was pretty much eliminated under the Taliban has returned with a vengeance. Afghanistan now produces 87% of the world's heroin, by far the largest supplier. Some other stats:
  • Money from the biz accounts for 50% of the country's GNP
  • The volume of heroin coming out of Afghanistan is larger than the volume of cocain coming out of Colombia
  • An estimated 90% of the police chiefs in the country are either involved with the drug business or are paid off to look the other way
  • Reversing this trend is not part of the US military's mission
The eventual result of this situation is unmistakable and indisputable: The real seat of power now and in the future lies not with the Hamid Karzai government, but with the people controlling the drug money. The resulting anarchy and lawlessness will make any past South American situation seem like child's play. If Pablo Escobar lived today, he'd be there in a heartbeat.

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