NATO’s responsibility toward drug production in Afghanistan
Mehr News – Production of the illicit drugs in NATO-dominated Afghanistan has hit a new record during the past decade since the US lead coalition waged a war on the country in 2001 under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
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.