Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Making the Middle East Safe for Its Biggest Cash Crop

Mission accomplished in Afghanistan!

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan’s world-leading opium cultivation rose a “staggering” 60 percent this year, the U.N. anti-drugs chief announced Saturday in urging the government to crack down on big traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police.

The record crop yielded 6,100 tons of opium, or enough to make 610 tons of heroin — outstripping the demand of the world’s heroin users by a third, according to U.N. figures...

...Afghanistan’s insecurity is fueling the opium boom, saying he has pleaded with the NATO force that took over military operations in the south a month ago to take a “stronger role” in fighting drugs. NATO says it has no mandate for direct involvement in the anti-drug campaign.

“We need much stronger, forceful measures to improve security or otherwise I’m afraid we are going to face a dramatic situation of failed regions, districts and even perhaps even provinces in the near future,” Costa said.

The U.N. report, based on satellite imagery and ground surveys, said the area under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached 407,700 acres in 2006, up from 257,000 acres in 2005. The previous high was 323,700 acres in 2004.

The estimated yield of 6,100 tons of opium resin — described by Costa as “staggering” — is up from 4,100 tons last year, and exceeds the previous high for total global output of 5,764 tons recorded in 1999.

Last year, about 450 tons of heroin was consumed worldwide, 90 percent of it from Afghanistan, according to the U.N.

The report will increase pressure on the beleaguered Afghan president. Karzai has often talked tough on drugs, even declaring a “holy war” against the trade, but he is increasingly criticized for appointing and failing to sack corrupt provincial governors and police.

...In an indication of the alarming extent of official complicity in the trade, a Western counternarcotics official said about 25,000 to 30,000 acres of government land in Helmand was used to cultivate opium poppies this year.

The official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said police and government officials are involved in cultivating poppies, providing protection for growers or taking bribes to ensure the crops aren’t destroyed.

You got that right. Land owned and controlled by the Cheneyburton-Unocal puppet is being used to flood the world market with opium and heroin.

But along with the lack of armed confrontation here at home, it's got to be puzzling and frustratng to the Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton cabal that the antiwar movement isn't the drug culture that the Nixon CIA helped create in the '60s and '70s anymore.

That's one Rovian strategery that hasn't worked out as planned.

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