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Opium, thugs bloom under U.S. policies in Afghanistan war
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)


San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper), December 17, 2006
Posted: December 17th, 2006
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/17/...

The Taliban ... briefly banned poppy cultivation in 2000 in an effort to gain U.S. diplomatic recognition and aid. When the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, poppies were grown on only 7,600 hectares. Under the American occupation ... poppy cultivation spread to every province, and overall production has increased exponentially ever since -- this year by 60 percent. Within Afghanistan, where perhaps 3 million people draw direct income from poppy, profits may reach $3 billion this year. In-country profit adds up to an estimated 60 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product, or more than half the country's annual income. Afghanistan provides 92 percent of the world's heroin. Through many administrations, the U.S. government has been implicated in the Afghan drug trade. Before the American and Pakistani-sponsored mujahedeen took on the Soviets in 1979, Afghanistan produced a very small amount of opium for regional markets, and no heroin at all. By the end of the jihad against the Soviet army, it was the world's top producer of both drugs. The CIA made it all possible by providing legal cover for these operations. The United States [encouraged] Islamist extremists (then "our" soldiers) and ... set the stage for the Taliban. [Currently,] President Hamid Karzai['s] strategy is to avoid confrontation, befriend potential adversaries and give them offices, often in his Cabinet. The trade penetrates even the elected Parliament. Among the 249 members of the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) are at least 17 known drug traffickers, in addition to 40 commanders of armed militias, 24 members of criminal gangs, and 19 men facing serious allegations of war crimes.

Note: Could it be that some U.S. officials are turning a blind eye, or even supporting this drug trade? For some very strong evidence of this from a former award-winning DEA agent turned journalist and author, click here.


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