BUDAPEST, Hungary - NATO defense ministers Friday authorized their troops in Afghanistan to attack drug barons blamed for pumping up to US$100 million (euro74 million) a year into the coffers of resurgent Taliban fighters.
Ah, but longtime readers of my blog are aware of the importance of heroin in Afghanistan -- and thus, they know that this is not the beginning of the story, and neither will it be the end.
Before we continue with this, perhaps we should review some history. Though I have written extensively about this in the past, I will nevertheless paint the picture again in this series of posts.
I present material from an article that appeared on October 9, 2008, entitled U.S. Study Warns of Crisis in Afghanistan:
WASHINGTON -- A draft report by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes that Afghanistan is in a downward spiral and casts serious doubt on the ability of the Afghan government to stem the rise in the Taliban's influence there, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The classified report finds that the breakdown in central authority in Afghanistan has been accelerated by corruption within President Hamid Karzai's government and by an increase in attacks by militants operating from Pakistan, the Times said, citing U.S. officials familiar with the document.
There are two problems. One is that Pakistan is a sanctuary for the militants; the other is that of corruption in the Kabul government.
In reviewing my Genesis series, it is not surprising that Pakistan is a sanctuary for the militants; indeed, as I often pointed out during the Genesis posts, it sure looked like Pakistan was behind the rise of the Taliban. No wonder the Taliban would flee to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and no wonder Islamabad has been unable to root them out, and unwilling to give the US permission to enter Pakistani territory to do so.
Is it not interesting that one thing Benazir Bhutto was proposing was to get the militants out of the border area, without US help if possible, but with US help if necessary? And, of course, look what happened to her!
Then, there's the corruption in the Kabul government.
The report, a nearly completed version of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), is set to be finished after the November elections and will be the most comprehensive U.S. assessment in years on the situation in Afghanistan, the paper said.
Beyond the cross-border attacks launched by militants from neighboring Pakistan, the intelligence report asserts that many of Afghanistan's most vexing problems are of the country's own making, the officials said.
The report cites gains in the building of Afghanistan's national army. But officials said it also laid out in stark terms what it described as the destabilizing impact of the booming heroin trade, which by some estimates accounts for 50 percent of Afghanistan's economy.
Back now to NATO agrees on Afghan drug role for military from October 10, 2008:
"With regard to counter-narcotics ... ISAF can act in concert with the Afghans against facilities and facilitators supporting the insurgency," said NATO spokesman James Appathurai, referring to the NATO force.
The United States has pushed for NATO's 50,000 troops to take on a counter-narcotics role to hit back at the Taliban, whose increasing attacks have cast doubt on the prospects of a Western military victory in Afghanistan.
However, Germany, Spain and others were wary and their doubts led to NATO imposing conditions on the anti-drug mandate for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
Troops will only be able to act against drug facilities if authorized by their own governments; only drug producers deemed to be supporting the insurgency will be targeted; and the operation must be designed to be temporary — lasting only until the Afghan security forces are deemed able to take on the task.
So, what is going on here?
We now begin with a translation by Ferghana.Ru of an article that originally appeared in Russian, entitled US AF serving Afghani drug dealers, from November, 2007; keep in mind that, as a translation by a non-native speaker of English, it reads just a little rough in places:
Afghani drugs are as much a pressing problem of the international community as the global warming is. Existence of the problem is recognized by everybody but a solution to it is not known. An international conference on the subject took place in Kabul in late October. According to the UN report presented there, Afghani opium reaching the international market accounts 93% of the global production. Fifty percent of Afghani drugs is produced in Gilmand on the border with Pakistan, a province where British troops are quartered.
Persuading the House of Commons to send British troops to Helmand last year [as this is a 2007 article, that would be 2006 -- YD], Premier Tony Blair capitalized on the danger to Great Britain posed by Afghani heroin. Paradoxically as it is, British servicemen and their American colleagues have found themselves now dragged into the international mafia that buys drugs made in Afghanistan and smuggles them abroad.
The information this publication is based on came from various Afghani sources that cannot be identified for quite understandable reasons. All the same, indirect evidence indicates that the Western military is involved in traffic. An operation against poppy plantations was to take place in several southern and southeastern provinces of Afghanistan this May (they were to be sprayed with defoliants). Sources in administration of Kandahar and Jalalabad say, however, that commanders of the US and British contingents in these provinces made a pact with the Afghanis and cancelled the operation.
Did you catch that? "[I]ndirect evidence indicates that the Western military is involved in traffic."
Of course, since then, there has been more of an outcry on the part of the Russian Federation regarding the involvement of the US military in the heroin trade.
Sources point out that interests of the Western military involved in trafficking out of Afghanistan (usually by US military aviation) coincide with interests of Afghani chieftains who control poppy fields. Afghani officials say that 85% of all drugs produced in southern and southeastern provinces are shipped abroad by US aviation.
Again, that was a report from a year ago: "Afghani officials say that 85% of all drugs produced in southern and southeastern provinces are shipped abroad by US aviation."
There are several ways of shipping drugs abroad. Some sources maintain that the chain begins with civilian salesmen - usually Americans acting under the cover of all sorts of non-governmental organizations and security firms. They buy "goods" from Afghani wholesale dealers and take them to military bases (usually the airfield in Kandahar). A well-informed source in Afghani security structures claims in the meantime that the American military never deals with Western civilian structures and works with local Afghani officials directly. It is these officials who deal with field commanders, from Taliban more often than not, who are in charge of drug production. The Talibs control bank accounts money is transacted to in all sorts of devious ways via the Afghanis living in the United States and West Europe.
As a matter of fact, money is not the only commodity drugs are paid with. Weapons will do too. Afghani sources claim that drugs-for-weapons barter deals with the Talibs are widely used. (One cannot help recalling the "deals" between our servicemen and the mujahedin during Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.) It may be added that the mujahedin nowadays get weapons from the northern provinces to which the merchandise is smuggled in the first place from Asian states. Insiders say that a great deal of merchandise passes via Shurtepa, a settlement on the Afghani-Turkmen border. Insiders say that weapons and munitions are ferried to the Taliban-controlled provinces of Afghanistan by American or British armored vehicles.
Does this ring any bells?
From 'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' An interview with FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds by Christopher Deliso August 15, 2005:
CD: Can you elaborate here on what countries you mean?
SE: It's interesting, in one of my interviews, they say "Turkish countries," but I believe they meant Turkic countries – that is, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and all the 'Stans, including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and [non-Turkic countries like] Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these countries play a big part in the sort of things I have been talking about.
CD: What, you mean drug-smuggling?
SE: Among other things. Yes, that is a major part of it. It's amazing that in this whole "war on terror" thing, no one ever talks about these issues. No one asks questions about these countries – questions like, "OK, how much of their GDP depends on drugs?"
CD: But of course, you're not implying...
SE: And then to compare that little survey with what countries we've been putting military bases in --
And, it's not just today's fight in Afghanistan against the Taliban; the same connections to corrupt US officials permitted 9/11 to occur (so it could be used as cover for a bigger crime).
From State Dept. Quashed 9/11 Links To Global Drug Trade -- FBI Whistleblower by Fintan Dunne, June 7, 2004:
Because of a provisional gag order issued by Judge Reggie B. Walton which prohibits revealing specific details, Edmonds can only paint a picture in the broadest of brush strokes.
But her measured words hint at politically explosive connections between criminal drug/intelligence networks, and the 9/11 attacks.
"You have [a] network of people who obtain certain information and they take it out and sell it to... whomever would be the highest bidder. Then you have people who would be bringing into the country narcotics from the East, and their connections. [It] is only then that you really see the big picture."
"And you see certain semi-legitimate organizations that may very well have a legit front, but with very criminal illegitimate activities -- who start coming at you from these investigations."
"And the picture becomes, actually, very clear. Crystal clear."
From 'I Saw Papers That Show US Knew al-Qa'ida Would Attack Cities With Airplanes' by Andrew Buncombe; published on Friday, April 2, 2004 by the Independent/UK:
Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used "state secrets privilege".
She told The Independent yesterday: "I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily."
She added: "There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used -- but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities -- with skyscrapers."
She said said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack. "Most of what I told the commission -- 90 per cent of it -- related to the investigations that I was involved in or just from working in the department. Two hundred translators side by side, you get to see and hear a lot of other things as well."
"President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away.
For a wild ride, stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as this series continues!