Afghan Opium Production May Rise

Afghan Opium Production May Rise
Posted by FoM on September 26, 2001 at 17:54:29 PT
By Ken Guggenheim, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Afghanistan' s dramatic drop in opium production could be reversed as a result of the war on terrorism, U.S. and U.N. officials said Wednesday. The officials said they are concerned that the ruling Taliban militia will end a ban that led to a 97 percent drop in Afghanistan' s production of opium, the raw material for heroin.Afghanistan had been the world' s leading producer of opium before the Taliban, citing Islamic religious principles, banned it in July 2000. Opium had been an important source of revenue for the Taliban as they fought an opposition coalition in the northern part of the country.
With Afghanistan bracing for possible reprisals for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, the Taliban could lift the ban to raise cash, the officials said. The United States has accused Afghanistan of harboring the terrorists responsible for the attacks.Neither U.S. officials, three of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, nor U.N. officials said they have evidence that the ban has been lifted." After the 11th of September, our line of communication and information of Afghanistan has been drastically reduced, " said Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.Opium production could rise in Afghanistan even if the Taliban do not lift the ban. The chaos caused by U.S. attacks or gains by the opposition alliance could allow farmers to shift back to opium." Hundreds of thousands of farmers are asking themselves what to plant this year: wheat or opium, " Arlacchi said. " If they plant now, they will get a harvest around April or May next year. Will the Taliban be there April or May next year?"Arlacchi said opium is a good crop for bad times because it requires little water and can be sold easily.In 2000, Afghanistan produced about 4,000 tons of opium, accounting for about 75 percent of the world market. Most of that heroin was sold in Europe. Most heroin sold in the United States comes from Latin America.In July 2000, the Taliban banned opium production, citing Islamic principles. The State Department says 2001 production has fallen to 81 tons, including 76 tons in areas controlled by the opposition.The drop in supply caused the wholesale price per kilogram to soar from $30 to as high as $700, according to U.N. officials. The ban earned rare praise for a militia repeatedly denounced for links to terrorists, suppression of women and destruction of relics of other religions.U.S. and international officials have remained skeptical of the Taliban' s commitment to drug eradication. Some suspected the Taliban were trying to cut supply to raise prices and control the market. They also said the Taliban hadn' t wiped out existing stockpiles, which the United Nations said could total 100 tons.This week, wholesale prices fell, according to U.N. figures, leading to speculation that Afghan traffickers may already be selling their stock.But Arlacchi said that doesn' t mean the Taliban would be involved in the sales." Criminal groups, who are as powerful as the Taliban and as powerful as anyone else in Afghanistan, have full control of those stockpiles, " he said.Before Sept. 11, the United States had planned to provide about $2 million in aid for Afghan farmers to help compensate them for losses resulting from opium eradication.Additional aid was considered for farmers in areas controlled by the opposition northern alliance. State Department and U.N. officials said alliance leaders have agreed to help eradicate opium.In March, the State Department said in its annual narcotics report that the " northern alliance has taken no action of which we are aware against cultivation and trafficking in its area."Source: Associated PressAuthor: Ken Guggenheim, Associated Press WriterPublished: Wednesday, September 26, 2001Copyright: 2001 Associated PressRelated Articles:Kabul Drops Opium Ban; Boom Feared Laden's Fighters Train Hard On Opium Remains a Major Drug Trader Administration Cut Faustian Deal with Taliban
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Comment #6 posted by Mari on September 27, 2001 at 08:04:59 PT
 Why is it we are being told that the ONLY reason poppies are being grown in Afganastan is for illegal heroin trade?Are we and our allies the only people in the world who use poppies to produce medical morphine?
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on September 27, 2001 at 00:54:17 PT
Is there a math requirement in the DEA?
Hmm let's see how successful our Drug War has been at combatting terrorists.Before the Drug Warriors show up, the Taliban have 100 tons of opium facing a market where the price is $30 per kilo. So they have a stockpile of opium worth $3 million.So now the Drug Warriors show up, and find the taliban suddenly willing to decide that after centuries of being tolerated, opium farming is now anti-Islamic.And the DEA says horray, the price has climbed to $700 per kilo! The junkies will go hungry tonight!And the Taliban say, hooray! The price of opium has gone through the roof! Osama's training camps won't be hungry tonight!Because their 100 tons of opium is now worth $70 million. Maybe this is the end of capitalism when only our enemies seem to really understand how it works and succeed in using it against us.
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on September 26, 2001 at 22:01:15 PT
Why don't governments compete with terrorists?
If heroin is the Taliban's chief business, then why don't we compete with them and drive them out of business?Medicalize heroin the way the Swiss and Australians are doing it, or trying to do it when not being bullied by America.And give government grants for detox and rehab.But I think the Drug war knee is still jerking too hard in this country's political leadership for any business common sense to be applied to the situation.
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Comment #3 posted by lookinside on September 26, 2001 at 19:39:38 PT:
if schedule one...
were eliminated from the FDA's list, opium poppies could be grown here in the U.S.heroin is the best pain killer known to should be available by prescription for the terminally ill or those whose pain can never be aleviated by any other method...granted, it is addictive, but studies have shown that the ills associated with heroin addiction are caused by malnutrition and unsanitary living conditions rather than the drug itself...still waiting for sanity to strike...
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 26, 2001 at 18:44:55 PT
I hope you are doing ok over there in the city. I'm glad to see you comment and you're right. 
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 26, 2001 at 18:30:02 PT
Just imagine if there weren't prohibition. The Taliban wouldn't be making heroin $$$$$$$$$
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