TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A prominent Argentine political analyst said the western military campaign against Afghanistan, led by the US, was indeed to rein in the lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits, rather than an oft-repeated pretext to fight terrorism.
“The truth is that Afghanistan was not invaded as part of the so-called ‘war on terrorism’ but rather to protect the West’s highly lucrative UK-centered global heroine and opium trade,” Adrian Salbuchi, an international political analyst, researcher and consultant, told the Tasnim News Agency.
He said the US decided to take military action against Afghanistan after it realized that its huge profits in the world’s largest producer of opium and heroin were at stake by the rise of the Taliban.
“When the Taliban took power they all eradicated poppy plantations, with the result that opium coming out of Afghanistan – who produce around 90% of the world’s opium – practically came to a halt in that year… Opium and heroin prices skyrocketed,” Salbuchi explained.
Describing the slump in opium production and the dramatic increase in narcotics prices as “bad news” for the US and its staunch ally, Britain, Salbuchi said those western governments orchestrated a military campaign for the so-called “liberation” of Afghanistan.
After the US invasion of Afghanistan, the Argentine analyst said, poppy cultivation and “heroin plantations went back to normal and today are again in full blast maximized production.”
Opium production in Afghanistan rose in 2013, a phenomenon the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says is due in part to the lack of agricultural assistance to Afghan farmers.
The United Nations has estimated in the past that opium trafficking accounts for up 15 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, but the figure is expected to rise as international military and development spending declines with the NATO withdrawal at the end of 2014.
A common complaint from Afghan farmers is that traditional crops, grown legally, do not bring them enough money, and that in the absence of irrigation systems and canals in a country with erratic weather conditions and widespread draught, poppy fares much better than water-intensive crops such as cotton or fruits.
The farmers cannot cultivate wheat, maize or cotton without a sufficient water supply.
The Afghan government, with the help of some donor countries, has initiated opium eradication programs, but many farmers say promises to provide high-quality seeds and fertilizer, carry out developmental projects and promote alternative careers have not been kept.
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