CIA and the Taliban with a touch of heroin

Before 1979 Pakistan and Afghanistan exported very little heroin to the West,” but by 1981, “trucks from the Pakistan army’s National Logistics Cell arriving with CIA arms from Karachi often returned loaded with heroin – protected by ISI [Pakistan’s internal security service] papers freeing them from police search.”

This change occurred in 1981 when then CIA Director William Casey, Prince Turki bin Faisal of Saudi intelligence and the ISI worked together to create a foreign legion of jihadi Muslims or so-called Arab Afghans. More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan between 1986 and 1992 in camps overseen by the CIA and [British] MI6. The SAS [British special forces] trained future Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in bomb-making and other black arts” while their leaders were trained at a CIA camp in Virginia. Further, “CIA aid was funneled through [Pakistani President] General Zia and the ISI in Pakistan.”

CIA assets controlled the heroin trade. As the mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant poppies as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories.

In 1999, Afghanistan produced a bumper crop of 4,600 metric tons of opium.

The 2000 harvest was close to 3,300 metric tons. The result, as Colombia expanded poppy cultivation in the late 1990s, and as the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia showed only a minor drop in output, was a glut. Therefore the Taliban’s ban on production would have had the impact of creating a price support by reducing supplies

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.”

Without heroin money at their disposal, billions of dollars could not be funneled into various CIA black budget projects.

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.

In June of 2001, a few months before 9/11, it was reported that a “recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan” was announced “by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, [which] made the United States the main sponsor of the Taliban.”  He gave the Taliban $43 million to replace the income lost to Afghani farmers as a result of the ban. Their wheat crops had failed due to the drought and they had no money from opium harvests to buy food. The middlemen who had stockpiled the opium had income. But the farmers, who had harvested in the summer of 2000, had already been paid.

Drug trafficking is the largest global commodity in profits after the oil and arms trade, consequently, “immediately following the October 2001 invasion opium markets were restored. Opium prices spiraled. By early 2002, the domestic price of opium in Afghanistan (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000.” The Anglo-American invasion of Afghanistan successfully restored the drug trade. The Guardian recently reported that, “In 2007 Afghanistan had more land growing drugs than Colombia, Bolivia and Peru combined.”.

In 2002, former Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of India wrote that, in regard to the failure to combat the rise in opium production, “this marked lack of success in the heroin front is due to the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA, which encouraged these heroin barons during the Afghan war of the 1980s in order to spread heroin-addiction amongst the Soviet troops, is now using them in its search for bin Laden and other surviving leaders of the Al Qaeda.”

The Hindu reported in 2008 that, “90 per cent of the heroin sold in Russia comes from Afghanistan,” and Putin was quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, they (NATO) are doing nothing to reduce the narcotic threat from Afghanistan even a tiny bit,” and that the coalition forces were “sitting back and watching caravans haul drugs across Afghanistan to the former Soviet Union and Europe.” The article then reported that, “according to unconfirmed reports the U.S. military transport aviation is used for the delivery of drugs from Afghanistan to the American airbases, Ganci in Kyrgyzstan and Incirlik in Turkey,” and that, “It has been reported earlier that the CIA is involved in Afghanistan’s opium production, or is at least protecting it.” One Russian journalist quoted anonymous Afghan officials as saying, “85 per cent of all drugs produced in southern and southeastern provinces are shipped abroad by U.S. aviation.”

Afghanistan now supplies over 90 percent of the world’s heroin, generating nearly $200 billion in revenue. Since the U.S. invasion on Oct. 7, 2001, opium output has increased 33-fold (to over 8,250 metric tons a year) in 2008.

Many believe that the CIA arranges revenue from its own means for this kind of operations where expenses can’t be predicted by any measure. Funds from Whitehouse always need a complete audit and detailed reports about usage of these funds. There are numerous occasions when CIA never shared details of operations with its own analytical wing nor with any other public office in Washington. Most of the time it is drug money that compensates these expenses.

Out of every 500 tonnes produced, 58 tonnes (11 per cent) were seized in 2009.

Heroin production in Afghanistan pointing out that 6,000 tons of opium, which was over 90 per cent of the global produce last year, was grown in Afghanistan, while 610 tonnes of opium was produced in Myanmar, 25 tonnes in Laos, 10 tonnes in Mexico and nine tonnes in Colombia.

 

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