Opium Production In Afghanistan: US’s Lost War Because Of Drugs In Afghanistan

American handling some or mishandling by others of the terrorist-ridden state of Afghanistan saw America removing American troops leaving the Afghan forces at their own devices, and informally ending the Afghan. Campaign after more than 20 years of conflict made Afghanistan the most protracted battle in which the U.S.A. has been involved. Many experts have pointed out religion, race and other factors benefitting their terrorist nemesis Taliban and their use of Guerrilla warfare to force the U.S. leaving the region. However, one overlooked factor that deadlocked Americans from stabilising Afghanistan was the opium poppy.

After a four-year brutal conflict with the Soviet Union in 1979 led to the decimation of 10% of Afghanistan’s population. During the battle, the resistance groups called Mujahideen, backed by the C.I.A., funded the group by growing and selling opium, which the U.S. ignored if it meant soviet troops could be resisted.

The Afghan economy was in shambles and mauled by the conflict. Farmers became desperate and started growing opium as it was the most valuable cash crop available. The Mujahideen became the drug traffickers and taxed the opium grown by the local farmers. By 1984 Afghanistan supplied 60% of the Opium in America and 80% to Europe. Hence Afghanistan’s economy was almost entirely dependent upon this trade. Afghanistan had cornered the market by then and grew 75% of the world’s total opium. The U.S. remained didn’t get involved till 9/11.

The Taliban faction, which rose to power after the civil war over the war-torn region, continued to fund themselves more than before, using opium to the point where Afghanistan was responsible for growing 93% of the world’s total opium. This translated to 8000 tonnes of poppy harvesting, sold in the western countries and ironically used to fight against U.S. and N.A.T.O’s troops in Afghanistan.

The U.S. troops destroyed acres of land dedicated to growing poppies to severing the Taliban’s economic artery. This method backfired with the poor farmers being unable to feed their families and their only livelihood being destroyed. At the same time, the U.S. didn’t provide efforts or aid in helping farmers develop or grow different crops to support themselves. They revolted and refused to comply with the American troops, further strained the relationship between the Afghan government and the U.S.

Bring the Troops Home' Is a Dream, Not a Strategy

The Western-backed Afghan government used the drug business to make profits. The government officials had become corrupted, with some taking the drug. A corp made a video in 2013 stating,” The policeman at the checkpoint was smoking weed, which is kind of normal. But two of the policemen filling sandbags nowhere out of their brains on something else, something stronger, opium or heroin, literally nodding off as they stand up or sit down… filling the sandbags”.

Inge Fryklund, the development advisor for military deployment in Afghanistan stated Jan 2021, “When I was with the US Marine Corps in southwestern Afghanistan back in 2012, we learned that in the Afghan police, part of the Ministry of the Interior, people were paying $150,000 up through the Ministry of the Interior to be appointed the chief of police in a district out in the middle of the desert in a mud-brick building…where the opium trade was going through.”

This made the expert at Washington seem that the war was being fought between two drug cartels rather than a legitimate governing body and a fundamentalist group which killed less than the number of people that died in the crossfire of this ‘gang war’ to speak. Hence with the U.S. may have forced itself out of something little to nothing to justify all the death tolls from Afghanistan and their side with little to no resolution because of the drug induction from both sides