Taliban May Dump Heroin Stockpiles On West

Taliban May Dump Heroin Stockpiles On West
Posted by FoM on October 12, 2001 at 08:34:40 PT
By Mike Wendling, London Bureau Chief
Allied military action in Afghanistan could lead to a flood of heroin onto Western streets, experts at the European Drug Trafficking Conference (EDTC) warned this week. "The size of opium and heroin stockpiles in Afghanistan is presently unknown," said Sandeep Chawla, the UN Drug Control Program's head of research. "Given recent events, there is a possibility that these stockpiles could be released into the European market."
Chawla, speaking at the EDTC in London on Thursday, said that opium production in Afghanistan dropped by 95 percent following a Taliban ban against poppy cultivation last year.That ban has apparently been lifted, as the impoverished Taliban searches for funds to fight superior allied forces."Afghanistan's role in the European drugs trade is paramount, and so whatever happens over the coming months will have wide-ranging implications," said Nicholas Dorn, director of international and policy research for U.K. drugs charity DrugScope. The Taliban's policies are a focus of debate at this week's drug trafficking conference. Afghanistan has a long history of opium production. In the 1980s, U.S.-backed rebel groups fighting Soviet occupation forces openly trafficked in drugs to fund arms purchases.When they first came to power in 1996, the Taliban taxed opium farmers and heroin processors. The drug tax soon became a major source of funds for the government.Taliban authorities made an apparent about-face last year when they implemented the ban against poppy cultivation. But opium stockpiles already in Afghanistan were not affected by the new law. "This, coupled with the possible return to full-scale opium production in the future, could mean more heroin on the streets of Europe," Chawla said.According to the U.S. State Department, Afghanistan produced 72 percent of the world's illegal opiate supply last year. Authorities estimate that three quarters of the illegal heroin in Europe and up to 90 percent of the illegal heroin in the U.K. originated in Afghanistan. During a speech to Parliament last week, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "The arms the Taliban are buying today are paid for with the lives of young British people buying their drugs on British streets."The Afghan drugs trade isn't limited to the Taliban, however. Drugs expert Richard Davenport-Hines has said that the opposition Northern Alliance continued to fund their armies with opium proceeds, even after the Taliban banned the crop.Newshawk: Nicholas Thimmesch IINORML Media & CommunicationsSource: CNSNews.comAuthor: Mike Wendling, London Bureau ChiefPublished: October 12, 2001Copyright: 1998-2001 Cybercast News ServiceContact: shogenson cnsnews.comWebsite: Articles:Colombian Drug Barons Could Fill Heroin Vacuum Den - U.S. News & World Report Official: Taliban in Opium Trade
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on October 12, 2001 at 10:19:30 PT:
An "H-bomb" of a different sort
This is like all those Anslinger/Hearst stories about the Yellow Peril. God, these people are so predictable...
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