NATO re­spon­si­bil­ity to­ward ris­ing drug pro­duc­tion in Afghanistan

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Pay­man Yaz­dani

TEHRAN — In­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence dubbed ‘Par­lia­men­tary Mem­bers vs. Drugs’ slated for Dec. 4, in the Rus­sian cap­i­tal city Moscow is be­ing held. The main pur­pose of the con­fer­ence is to dis­cuss the roles of the par­lia­ments in fight against drug.

Speaker of the Ira­nian Par­lia­ment Ali Lar­i­jani upon his ar­rival to Moscow to take part in the con­fer­ence em­pha­sized that the is­sue of drugs had var­i­ous di­men­sions both in terms of di­ver­sity as well as that non-in­dus­trial drugs have be­come wide­spread in the mar­ket. “Ad­di­tion­ally, there seems to be no con­trol over the pro­duc­tion of nar­cotics in Afghanistan.” He asked the West and NATO to feel re­spon­si­ble to­ward drug traf­fick­ing in the Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s opium econ­omy is a multi­bil­lion dol­lar op­er­a­tion which in the course of the last decade, there has been a surge in Afghan opium pro­duc­tion. Afghanistan pro­duces over

90 per­cent of the opium which feeds the heroin mar­ket in the world.

In 2000-2001, “the Tal­iban govern­ment – in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the United Na­tions– had im­posed a suc­cess­ful ban on poppy cul­ti­va­tion. Opium pro­duc­tion de­clined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. In fact the surge in opium cul­ti­va­tion pro­duc­tion co­in­cided with the on­slaught of the US-led mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion and the down­fall of the Tal­iban regime. From Oc­to­ber through De­cem­ber

2001, farm­ers started to re­plant poppy on an ex­ten­sive ba­sis.” ac­cord­ing to a re­port by prof. by Michel Chos­su­dovsky pub­lished in Global Re­search, May 2005.

The Vi­enna based UN Of­fice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) re­veals that poppy cul­ti­va­tion in 2012 ex­tended over an area of more than

154,000 hectares, an in­crease of 18% over 2011. A UNODC spokesper­son con­firmed in 2013 that opium pro­duc­tion is head­ing to­wards record lev­els.

In 2014 the Afghan opium cul­ti­va­tion hit a record high, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 Afghan Opium Sur­vey. A slight de­cline oc­curred in 2015-2016.

The re­port by the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drug and Crime (UNODC) based on the re­port from Afghanistan min­istry of counter Nar­cotics shows opium pro­duc­tion in Afghanistan rose by

43 per­cent to 4,800 met­ric tons in 2016 and the area un­der opium poppy cul­ti­va­tion also in­creased to 201,000 hectares in 2016, a rise of 10 per­cent com­pared with 2015.

Since NATO claims it seeks to help bring peace and sta­bil­ity to Afghanistan through the peace­keep­ing ef­forts of the In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity As­sis­tance Force (ISAF) it leads, the Al­liance will fac­tor in the drug men­ace in its ar­eas of op­er­a­tions. Based on what NATO lead al­liance claim so any threat to the Afghan govern­ment is also a threat to the NATO pres­ence in the coun­try. In ad­di­tion, Afghanistan’s opium crop presents a di­rect threat to Al­lied pop­u­la­tions at home.

Ac­cord­ing to Si­bel Ed­mons’ re­port pub­lished by Global Re­search on 21 Agu. 2017, there were 189,000 heroin users in the US in 2001, be­fore the US-NATO in­va­sion of Afghanistan. By

2016 that num­ber went up to 4,500,000 (2.5 mil­lion heroin ad­dicts and 2 mil­lion ca­sual users). Heroin deaths shot up from

1,779 in 2001 to 10,574 in 2014 as Afghan opium poppy fields metas­ta­sized from 7,600 hectares in 2001 (when the US-NATO War in Afghanistan be­gan) to 224,000 hectares in 2016. (One hectare equals ap­prox­i­mately 2.5 acres). Iron­i­cally, the so-called US erad­i­ca­tion op­er­a­tion in Afghanistan has cost an es­ti­mated

$8.5 bil­lion in Amer­i­can tax­payer funds since the US-NATO-Afghan war started in Oc­to­ber 2001.

Ira­nian State Sec­re­tary Ab­dul Reza Rah­mani Fa­zli and the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Counter Nar­cotics Head­quar­ters, on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s special ses­sion on the global drug prob­lem (UN­GASS) dur­ing a meet­ing with Alan Brest Swiss in­te­rior min­is­ter on said : “The Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran, with its ef­forts in the fight against drug abuse and as the first pil­lar of the fight against drug traf­fick­ing with a source of pro­duc­tion in Afghanistan, pays the cost of peace and global se­cu­rity with 37,000 mar­tyrs “

The pro­duc­tion of il­licit drugs in NATO dom­i­nated Afghanistan is not only the great­est long-term chal­lenge fac­ing Afghanistan but also a great chal­lenge for NATO mem­ber states’ pop­u­la­tion at home and Afghanistan’s neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and re­gions like cen­tral Asia.

To tackle this chal­lenge threat­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Afghanistan govern­ment should do its part but the main re­spon­si­bil­ity lies with the US and NATO lead al­liance which paved the way for in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion of the il­licit drugs in the coun­try by wag­ing a war against it.

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