Pakistan closes Durand Line, causes $90 mn trade loss for Afghanistan

When Afghan agriculture and industry are disrupted; when an entire season of a farmers work is wasted, the impoverished people take the quickest path to profitability: heroin. World leaders claim to be fighting terrorism, but they allow their ally in that fight, Pakistan, to block all Afghan produce and exports from international markets, essentially empowering heroin markets and those who profit from them.

Source:  First Post

The “unilateral” blocking of the Durand Line by Pakistan choked off trade and caused damages of up to $90 million, Kabul complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week.

“The measures taken by the government of Pakistan at the entry points at the Durand line, border with Afghanistan, were tantamount to a total ban of trade between the two countries,” Dr Suraya Dalil, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN office at Geneva told the WTO Council for Trade in Goods on 6 April.

Representational images. Reuters

“…Afghan exporters were prevented from shipping any goods to Pakistan destined to be released for consumption in that country.”

“Similarly, they (Afghan exporters) could not export any goods to other countries which, in order to reach their destination, have to transit the territory of Pakistan,” Dalil said.

Imports to Afghanistan from Pakistan and other countries were also blocked.

Pakistan closed the border between the two countries from 17 February this year after a surge of terrorist attacks on its soil claiming that terrorists use Afghani soil against Pakistan. Though they had initially announced that the decision to close the entry points to the Durand Line was indefinite, the border re-opened on 21 March.

The Afghan diplomat described the consequences of closing the Durand Line as “huge”. Continue reading

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DEA: Heroin Haul Largest Ever in Afghanistan, ‘if Not the World’

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Source: Yahoo

A joint U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American Special Forces and Afghan counternarcotics operation in October resulted in an eye-popping seizure of 20 tons of drugs, which officials said was the “largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world.”

The operation was kept under wraps until today, when a DEA official confirmed the contents of a field intelligence report obtained by ABC News but did not explain why a successful “superlab” takedown — which agency veterans agreed is an unprecedented narcotics haul — was not officially announced. [emphasis added – why was this not reported for two months?  It took a field report leaking for it to be acknowledged.] Continue reading

UN Recognizes Afghan Opium Supplying US Market; US Politicians Silent

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After a decade of denial, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has finally shown Afghan narcotics trafficking into the United States on their yearly report, the World Drug Report.  As discussed previously on this site, preceding iterations of this report were used by the media to draw the conclusion that all illicit opioids consumed in the US were of Latin American origin. This was patently false. The UN’s own reports have clearly shown that Afghanistan was supplying 90-98% of the world’s opium since 2001 while countries like Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico combine to produce very little opium. Continue reading

2014 UNODC Afghanistan Opium Survey

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By: Cygnus

Each year, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime releases a report covering opium production around the world and in Afghanistan, the world’s leading producer of illicit Opiates. Opium production within the Afghan borders has been on the rise since 2001, when the United States invaded the country and usurped Taliban control of the state (the Taliban had completely eradicated poppy production in a single year). In 2014, while yield was slightly off-peak, the land area used to grow Afghanistan’s most popular and lucrative crop has never been higher.

Poppy fields presently cover 224,000 hectares of land in the embattled country; equating to over 20% of the total cultivated land area of the country. That’s right – over 1/5 of Afghan farm land is dedicated to providing the rest of the world with opium-derived substances. To put that into perspective, consider that 224,000 hectares is enough poppy fields to fill either Israel or Haiti completely. Or almost the entirety of the smaller Caribbean Islands. New York City (78,550 hectares), one of the most populous cities in the world could be covered almost 3x over with Afghan poppy fields. In fact, New York AND Los Angeles could easily be covered in 2014’s growing area. Poppy fields are so commonplace in Afghanistan, it’s almost impossible to not have seen the pictures (more) (even more) of US Soldiers passing through waist-high Poppy during patrols over the past several years.

Despite the clarity of the UN report, when it comes to US politicians addressing the endless, costly, unjust war on drugs, everyone is seen scratching their heads like the drugs are coming from an enigmatic source in a distant galaxy. It’s clear to just about every informed person on the planet that something fishy is going on in Afghanistan.  The UN report outlines where the opium is grown, who grows it, how much grows, which dates it is harvested and how it leaves the country. Despite this wealth of information, the United States, one of the predominant leaders in the international war(s)-on-ideologies (drugs & terror) has been out-smarted and out-farmed by the simple, tribal peoples of Afghanistan. Poppy fields flourish year after year, with eradication efforts declining significantly (-63% from previous year in 2014). It would seem that Afghan opium (processed into morphine, then heroin or counterfeit prescription pills for foreign markets) is a yet another problem that is not meant to be solved. Annihilating global narcotics trafficking organizations, the markets they serve and the terrorists they fund apparently isn’t a high priority.  The United States would rather wait until billions in drug-profits are transformed into machine guns, bombs, RPGs and convoys of Toyotas (filled with angry, sociopathic maniacs) before they take action. Instead of tearing down fields of Poppies (something the pre-9/11 Taliban was able to accomplish in a single growing season), they send soldiers overseas to fight battles in Iraq and Afghanistan that now need to be re-fought. Narcotics profits have been the single biggest boon to terror organizations and policymakers have yet to figure out that narco-terror is a hydra who’s heads will keep regrowing unless the source of power is destroyed once and for all. Within our government, allegedly exists the top minds in law, policy, and essentially, problem-solving. Yet, when faced with the challenge of international networks of money, drugs and weapons over the past 50 years, they are made to look inept. Meanwhile, the American people look on in horror, mouths agape, wondering…”are they doing this on purpose?”

One only has to look into the history of state-complicity in drug trafficking to answer that question…but for now, look into the UNODC Afghan Opium Survey graphics. The full report is worth a read and available online, here.   Continue reading

Former Blackwater Gets Rich as Afghan Drug Production Hits Record High


Source: The Guardian

In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.

Yet one clear winner in the anti-drug effort is not the Afghan people, but the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater.

Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002.

The company is the second biggest beneficiary of counternarcotics largesse in Afghanistan. Only the defense giant Northrop Grumman edged it out, with $325m. Continue reading

Afghanistan’s Record Opium Harvest Is Flowing to the West

After years of denial, the UN Office of Drug Control Policy finally admits that Afghan Opium is supplying US markets. 

Source: RSN

ast Africa is becoming a major transit point for heroin from Afghanistan, especially for shipments to Europe.

Most of it still takes an established path known as the “Balkan route” through Iran and southeast Europe, Reuters reports. Recent seizures along the Kenyan and Tanzanian coastlines, however, point to a “southern route.”

Between 2002 and 2011, Africa was sporadically identified as an origin for heroin reaching Europe. In 2012, however, East Africa became a prominent spot, according to the UN.

Afghanistan is the source of 80% of the world’s illicit opium products, according to The United Nations’ 2014 World Drug Report.

Afghan opium cultivation has increased by 7% from 2013 to 2014 and production increased as much as 17% over the same period, the UN reported in November. “Authorities “are worried that a record opium harvest in Afghanistan will flood global heroin markets this year,” Reuters also notes.

Map covering the drug trafficking through the Middle East. (photo: UNODC)

Map covering the drug trafficking through the Middle East. (photo: UNODC)

The US Drug and Enforcement Agency has spent years chasing after one organization, known as “Akasha,” responsible for the production and distribution of huge amounts of narcotics in Africa, according to Reuters.

Increased drug trafficking could destabilize the already volatile region, Western officials say, fearing a repeat of what happened in Guinea-Bissau, Africa’s first “narco state.”

Adding to the global nature of the problem, opiates and opioids, like heroin, top the list of drugs that cause the most disease and drug-related deaths, according to the UN.

 

Afghanistan: The Making of a Narco State

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Afghanistan produced 6,400 tons of opium in 2014, about 90 percent of the world’s supply.

 

Source: Rolling Stone (Issue 1224; Dec 18, 2014)

Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan is named for the wide river that runs through its provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, a low-slung city of shrubby roundabouts and glass-fronted market blocks. When I visited in April, there was an expectant atmosphere, like that of a whaling town waiting for the big ships to come in. In the bazaars, the shops were filled with dry goods, farming machinery and motorcycles. The teahouses, where a man could spend the night on the carpet for the price of his dinner, were packed with migrant laborers, or nishtgar, drawn from across the southern provinces, some coming from as far afield as Iran and Pakistan. The schools were empty; in war-torn districts, police and Taliban alike had put aside their arms. It was harvest time.

Across the province, hundreds of thousands of people were taking part in the largest opium harvest in Afghanistan’s history. With a record 224,000 hectares under cultivation this year, the country produced an estimated 6,400 tons of opium, or around 90 percent of the world’s supply. The drug is entwined with the highest levels of the Afghan government and the economy in a way that makes the cocaine business in Escobar-era Colombia look like a sideshow. The share of cocaine trafficking and production in Colombia’s GDP peaked at six percent in the late 1980s; in Afghanistan today, according to U.N. estimates, the opium industry accounts for 15 percent of the economy, a figure that is set to rise as the West withdraws. “Whatever the term narco state means, if there is a country to which it applies, it is Afghanistan,” says Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies illicit economies in conflict zones. “It is unprecedented in history.” Continue reading