The Taliban in Afghanistan has spent over a decade funding their operations from opium farms and their mass production of heroin. This was able to take place under the Obama administration which refused to target their illicit operations. Obama allowed the Taliban to become the worlds top producer of heroin, generating $billions for the terrorist outfit.
The Trump administration has taken a vastly different approach and has empowered the military to target their revenue stream by attacking their opium refining labs. An American General said, “This is a new war. The gloves are off, if you will, and we’ve got now these authorities we need to be able to go and target the Taliban network…The Taliban have never had to face a sustained targeting campaign focused on disrupting their illicit revenue activities.”
Afghanistan has produced 9,921 tons of opium so far in 2017, up from the 5,291 tons it produced in 2016. The Taliban rakes in about $400 million annually from its drug trade, which accounts for 60% of their budget. The Obama administration had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and formed an alliance with the drug lords of the nation in a misguided effort to rid the country of the Taliban.
Jean-Luc Lemahieu, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan from 2009-2013, said, “Drug control wasn’t a priority. Limiting casualties was, and if that meant engaging in unholy alliances with actors of diverse plumage, such was the case.”
They formed alliances with many drug lords and helped them take out their Taliban affiliated competition in the region. The Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department and the Treasury Department were all in on the plan to give their preferred drug lords a pass.
Obama’s strategy of limiting casualties must not have included Americans who are dying of overdose deaths caused by the opioid epidemic. Heroin use in America is at a 20-year high and climbing. Drug overdoses killed 64,000 people in 2016 alone. Heroin and other opioids are the greatest single offenders causing about half of all overdoses in the United States.
With the United States complicit in Afghanistan drug lord operations the opium production actually increased with our military presence. In 2001, before the United States invaded Afghanistan, the country had diminished its opium production and fields greatly. One year after our troops were introduced in the region, production was up over 900%. The war on drugs in Afghanistan has failed like the war on drugs in America. Reports suggest that American troops have even been tasked with protecting the fields from attack.
Huge fields of poppy plants are grown and their pods are crushed up and put in hot water with lime. The sediment sinks and crude white morphine floats to the top where it can be skimmed off. This is mixed with ammonium chloride to make morphine base. The base is mixed with acetic anhydride and cooked to produce diacetylmorphine. Water and chloroform are then added and the solution is filtered. Then baking soda is added to achieve correct acidic balance. That is how crude heroin is made from the plants in Afghanistan.
Every ten-parts raw opium yield will produce one-part heroin and ½ a hectare of opium plants can yeild as much as ten pounds of the opium poppies. Currently over 200,000 hectares of land are used to grow poppy plants. One hectare is about 2.47 acres. The amount of heroin they produce is astronomical and props up the economy of Afghanistan.
President Trump is going to cut into their margins significantly and the 25 labs our military bombed is just the beginning. A United States General said, “it’s not over. In fact, it’s only just begun, and this will be a very long winter for the Taliban as we will continue to disrupt their revenue sources again and again and again. The military hope that by diminishing their funding the Taliban will dissolve.
The United States under previous administrations have wasted $8.5 billion on “combating” the illicit drug trade in Afghanistan. This was obviously a miserable failure and complete waste of our tax dollars. President Trump has unleashed our military so it can combat this epidemic and the Taliban by bombing their opium operations into oblivion. This means less heroin on our streets and billions in lost revenue for terrorist overseas.