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Pentagon resists pleas for help in Afghan opium fight
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2006
Posted: December 12th, 2006
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-fg-a...

The Pentagon ... has resisted entreaties from U.S. anti-narcotics officials to play an aggressive role in the faltering campaign to curb the country's opium trade. Military units in Afghanistan largely overlook drug bazaars, rebuff some requests to take U.S. drug agents on raids and do little to counter the organized crime syndicates shipping the drug to Europe, Asia and, increasingly, the United States. Poppy cultivation has exploded, increasing by more than half this year. Afghanistan supplies about 92% of the world's opium. "It is surprising to me that we have allowed things to get to the point that they have," said ... a former top State Department counter-narcotics official. Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said that Afghanistan's flourishing opium trade is a law enforcement problem, not a military one. The opium trade is one-third of the country's economy. Several dozen kingpins ... have become more brazen, richer and powerful. [They] openly run huge opium bazaars and labs that turn opium into heroin. [The] head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said ... that the location of major drug operations were "well-known to us and to the authorities." The Pentagon has balked at drug interdiction efforts even when it had the resources, said a former senior U.S. anti-drug official. "There were [drug] convoys where military people looked the other way," the former official said. "DEA would identify a lab to go hit or a storage facility and [the Pentagon] would find a reason to ground the helicopters." A recent congressional report said the DEA asked the Pentagon for airlifts on 26 occasions in 2005, and the requests were denied in all but three cases.

Note: Some observers and insiders believe the reason Afghanistan was attacked is because the Taliban had virtually stopped the opium trade in 2001. For reliable evidence supporting these allegations, click here.


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