The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Soon in this - Iraqi - Theatre ....: explosion of the now fledgeling drug trade But don't skip weapons, cigarettes (both long entrenched businesses in Northern Iraq) and a more recent - very flourishing - addition: human trafficking incl. abduction & rape business. Sorry, did I forget trade in nuclear materials? Best andreas =================== http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/05/international/asia/05DRUG.html?ex=1063769532&ei=1&en=91420520a6a4166e September 5, 2003 U.N. Aide Says Afghan Drug Trade Pays for Terrorist Attacks By CARLOTTA GALL ABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 30 - The American-led forces in Afghanistan must address the country's drug trade because the huge opium and heroin crops are being used by militants to finance their activities, the top United Nations drug official has warned. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said in an interview here that there were indications that those carrying out violence in Afghanistan were financing their attacks with drug trafficking, and in some places forcing farmers to grow opium poppies. "The terrorists and traffickers are the same people," he said at the end of a weeklong visit to Afghanistan. "You cannot fight the war against terror without going against drug trafficking." Mr. Costa said that he had asked the American-led forces here several times to focus on the drug trade, and that he had seen reports that military forces had recently intercepted drug traffickers and had destroyed at least one illegal heroin laboratory. Afghanistan was the world's largest source of illicit opium in 2002, producing 3,750 tons, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. This year's harvest will be much the same, Mr. Costa said. His agency, which is supporting a 10-year Afghan government program to eradicate opium and heroin production, estimates that the poppy crop brought $1.2 billion to farmers and traders last year. That is double the Afghan government's yearly budget and roughly the amount spent by the donor countries on reconstruction in Afghanistan last year. The amount of money "has very major political and military implications," Mr. Costa said. He said Afghanistan was still in danger of falling into the hands of drug traders. In Badakhshan, a northern province where poppy cultivation has spread this year, farmers chatted freely to visitors last month as they harvested their crops. There seems to be little interference from the authorities here, although the government in Kabul has outlawed growing opium poppies and there have been local efforts in some places to eradicate their cultivation. "Everyone is doing it, it is free at the moment, without penalty," said Gulistan, the military chief of operations in Taloqan, a northern town. "It really took off during the Taliban period and it is increasing now." Local and foreign officials cite a power vacuum and lack of central government control in many places, as well as poverty and the influence of drug traders and militant groups for the increase in illegal production. Local officials complain that neither the central government nor international groups help them fight the drug trade. Gen. Muhammad Daoud, the military chief of the four northeastern provinces, said there had been no international assistance to combat the drug trade in the last two years. The Afghan cabinet is on the point of passing legislation on drug trafficking, Mr. Costa said, but he warned that the struggle to eradicate opium and heroin production would take a generation. For the farmers, many of whom subsist on what they grow, the draw is the money. "We know it is bad, but we are poor and that's why we do it," said Jorukash, 45, as he and his nephew cut poppy stalks in his fields. He said he could get $100 from his land if he grew wheat, but $1,000 if he grew poppies. Jorukash said he had already collected the opium resin and sold it in the bazaar, and bought grain that would provide enough bread for his family for the winter. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk