Let’s do a little math. A 50 gallon barrel drum of Brent oil this morning was ~$70. There are 189 kg per 50 gallons. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Drug Report street value in USA for heroin is $200 per gram. 189,000 grams X $200 = $37,800,000 per 50 gallon drum. You get the picture. It is not oil and gas or even rare earth minerals, it is the opium they are after. Military/Intelligence/private contractors have the capacity, manpower and resources to traffic heroin worldwide ultimately funding black projects and propping up the global economy.
While the American bombing campaign raged throughout October 2001, the CIA shipped $70m in cash into the country to mobilise its old cold war coalition of tribal warlords for the fight against the Taliban, an expenditure President George W Bush would later hail as one of history’s biggest “bargains”. To capture Kabul and other key cities, the CIA put its money behind the leaders of the Northern Alliance, an ethnic Tajik force that had fought the Soviets in the 1980s and then resisted the Taliban government in the 1990s. They, in turn, had long dominated the drug traffic in the area of north-east Afghanistan that they controlled during the Taliban years. The CIA also turned to a group of rising Pashtun warlords along the Pakistan border who had been active as drug smugglers in the south-eastern part of the country. As a result, when the Taliban collapsed, the groundwork had already been laid for the resumption of opium cultivation and the drug trade on a major scale.
Despite almost continuous combat since the invasion of October 2001, pacification efforts have failed to curtail the Taliban insurgency, largely because the US simply could not control the swelling surplus from the country’s heroin trade. Its opium production surged from around 180 tonnes in 2001 to more than 3,000 tonnes a year after the invasion, and to more than 8,000 by 2007. Every spring, the opium harvest fills the Taliban’s coffers once again, funding wages for a new crop of guerrilla fighters
At each stage in its tragic, tumultuous history over the past 40 years – the covert war of the 1980s, the civil war of the 90s and its post-2001 occupation – opium has played a central role in shaping the country’s destiny. In one of history’s bitter ironies, Afghanistan’s unique ecology converged with American military technology to transform this remote, landlocked nation into the world’s first true narco-state – a country where illicit drugs dominate the economy, define political choices and determine the fate of foreign interventions.