Presumably, these boardings and inspections would include the detection of some heroin or, at the very least, something that could be used to manufacture it. According to Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who wrote an article for the Daily Mail in 2007: "Millions of gallons of the chemicals needed for (the heroin-producing) process are shipped into Afghanistan by tanker. The tankers and bulk opium lorries on the way to the factories share the roads, improved by American aid, with NATO troops."
So why hasn't NATO been confiscating any heroin or the chemicals used to produce it? I turned to a top-level American diplomat, who explained to me that, "NATO has never done anything on drug trafficking. ... (O)ur Department of Defense has consistently refused to do anything with counter-narcotics in Afghanistan."
But doesn't NATO view the curtailment of heroin trafficking as part of the counterterrorism mission, since it seems to be a major source of funding for terrorist initiatives? And indeed it is a major source of terrorism funding -- $150 million annually to the Taliban, and $7 billion globally each year, according to Russia's anti-drug czar Ivanov.
Yet the Obama administration's solution, at least for the 2013 fiscal year, is to throw $179.1 million at the Afghan drug trade through the State Department and, presumably, private contractors who bid on USAID opportunities via the federal procurement process. According to the "National Drug Control Budget: 2013": "In Afghanistan, USAID will continue to focus on reducing the production of illegal crops by promoting alternative livelihoods programs. The majority of the decreased funding in (fiscal year) 2013 is in Afghanistan, and is due to a shift away from stabilization and staple crop focused alternative development programs to those more closely integrating stabilization, alternative development, and market led agricultural development objectives."
So the Taliban is going to get out of the heroin business because someone convinces them that planting corn or some other crop is a better alternative? I'm not sure who would have to be higher on heroin to believe this would work: the Taliban "smack" farmers or the American public.
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