Skip to comments.Opium Trade Earns Taliban $100 Million (UN Wonders, 'How to Cash In?')
Posted on 06/24/2008 7:21:32 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
New York, NY (AHN) - Taliban militants have earned an estimated $100 million from "taxes" generated from farmers growing poppies for the opium trade in Afghanistan, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said Tuesday.
Acosta said the earnings do not include money coming from other opium-related activities. He said the extremists may have earned more in protecting laboratories and the transport of the illegal drug.
He told the BBC, "One is protection to laboratories and the other is that the insurgents offer protection to cargo, moving opium across the border."
The U.N. estimates the Afghan opium harvest at $1 billion in 2007. This year's harvest is expected to be low due to drought, infestation and a poppy ban in northern and eastern Afghanistan.
Although Acosta said this would mean lower revenue for the Taliban, the amount of losses would not be enormous, he said.
Last year, Afghanistan produced an estimated 8,000 metric tons of opium, according to U.N. estimates, Acosta said.
He said global consumption of opium amounts only to 4,000 metric tons, leaving a surplus stored somewhere else.
"It is stored somewhere and not with the farmers," he added.
The stockpiled opium is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and could be in the hands of traffickers, corrupt Afghan officials or the Taliban, the U.N. official said.
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And to think that American dopers scoffed at the ad campaign linking drug abuse to funding terrorism.
Make the stuff legal, and they get next to nothing.
Who says the war on drugs doesn't hurt America? It funds our enemies.
Hold Enemies Closer.
Our own government(s) will be jealous of that revenue stream.
I forgot to mention incandescent lightbulbs.
In India, farmers can be licensed to grow opium legally, with the stipulation that the product is in turn sold to the pharmaceutical industry for legitimate medical applications (morphine and other painkillers).
I wonder if that might not be a partial solution for Afghanistan. I’m sure it wouldn’t completely wipe out the illegal drug trade or the Taliban’s profits. It could make a dent in them, though, while giving Afghanistan a legitimate and very profitable cash crop. If it takes even 20 or 30 percent of the Taliban’s profits away and funnels that money into legitimate industries, I think it would be worth a try.
Just a thought, though.
What people scoffed at mostly was how the government was saying that if you smoke marijuana you are supporting terrorism. You don't see Afghan marijuana on the streets in the U.S., and for that matter Afghan heroin is all but nonexistent in this country. Millions and millions of Americans smoke marijuana, but only a tiny few use heroin. The heroin used by the few in this country who use it comes from south of our border for the most part. The marijuana people use here tends to be either produced in this country or it comes from south of our border and to a lesser extent from Canada. American drug users really aren't supporting terrorism. They are in most cases supporting illegal drug trafficking organizations, which can be some really bad groups, but that would not be the case if the drugs they were using were legal. More people use marijuana than all other illegal drugs combined. If we really wanted to hit organized crime for billion and billions of dollars in annual income, we'd legalize marijuana and regulate it similar to the way alcohol is regulated now.
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