During the conflict it was alleged that the increase of opium/heroin production was funding the Taleban war effort, but this ignored the fact that the Taleban were only resurgent in certain parts of Afghanistan – therefore the Taleban can only be partly responsible. It is also fair to say that in the Taleban’s final year in power before the coalition intervened in their country, the Taleban government, in response to world pressure, were very close to eradicating the growth of the opium poppy entirely. Under western sponsored governments they never came close to eradicating the drug, indeed it is now grown at a greater level than ever before. But then the Allies were not into shooting those farmers who didn’t obey the instructions
It was demonstrated that even with an enormous western army in country the anti-drugs authorities were unable to get to grips with the problem. We were told that they couldn’t afford to alienate the Afghan farmers because they would defect to the Taleban; we were told that there was no alternative crop the farmers could raise, so it seemed that force, other than fatal force- Taleban style, was not the solution.
Meanwhile these illicit drugs are by far the countries largest export, bigger than anything in the ‘white market.’ The black money that is engendered finds its way to every level in government both national and regional, including the ability of the freewheeling warlords to hold down their regions and arm their supporters. They have been and remain dependent on the drugs trade. Various means of destruction employed like burning, despite claims of some success, have to stand alongside new data on increased acreage and greater yields.
It seems that to interdict the trade has to be along the delivery pipeline, which is well established and funded. It can be seen that it is the countries where the end user is found that looks for drug prevention. Authorities at all levels along the supply chain that gets the drugs there, broadly allow the supplies to pass by because they do well, or exceedingly well out of it.
Our PRESCRIPTION still at the growing end, to have the Afghan government whoever they might be, working alongside concerned governments who must fund the solution, paying to impose an intervention buying regime for one harvest, paying a price marginally below the current price of grain (or whatever alternative crop is indicated, and to provide that seed for the next growing season). That all the intervention-purchased poppy crop should be burned, less whatever part international Big Pharma would be prepared to buy-in for legitimate medicinal use. That it be made clear that any part of the poppy crop discovered to have been withheld from the intervention, would be seized and destroyed without compensation of cash, or free seed for the following season.
Yet even though we see this as the way to successfully interdict growing the poppy, plus the cost and the shutting down of harvests from the similar, smaller growers of SE and Central Asia, it would be infinitely cheaper to legalise the drug, thus decriminalizing it.