Showing posts with label opium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opium. Show all posts

Sunday, October 30, 2016

UN Report on Drug Cultivation in Afghanistan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has issued a new report about drugs in Afghanistan dated October 2016. Contributors to the report include Afghan organizations to include the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics, UNODC (Kabul), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The news is far from good. Most of the drug activities in Helmand province is controlled by the Taliban; but government officials are also implicated. You can read the 12-page executive summary (bulk of report due out in November 2016) in "Afghanistan: Opium Survey 2016: Cultivation and Production".

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Afghan War News Snippets

EU Providing 12 Million Euros. Afghanistan faces a critical humanitarian crisis as a result of the intensifying conflict. The European Union is upping its contribution for humanitarian aid by 12 million euros bringing the total humanitarian aid to 40 million euros for 2015. (European Commission, Dec 22, 2015).

Taliban Leadership Struggles. There seems to be three distinct groups of the Afghan Taliban emerging and the divide is going away soon. Read "Dueling Fatwas, More Dissension as Afghan Taliban Leadership Struggle Intensifies", Gandhara Blog, December 22, 2015.

Sexual Assault in Afghanistan. Danielle Moylan writes "When It Comes to Sexual Assault, Afghanistan Is All Talk and No Action", Foreign Policy, December 21, 2015.

Peace Talks? Looks like Afghanistan, Pakistan and others will make another attempt at peace talks. Reports say that another round will take place in Pakistan on/about January 11th. China and the United States may (will) also participate. (Radio Free Europe, Jan 2, 2016).

Georgian Deployment Program (GDP). The GDP is a multi-year training program with the goal to increase the interoperability between the Georgian Army and Resolute Support Mission (RSM). The training consists of six six-month rotations designed to train six Georgian infantry battalions. Read more in a contract announcement about driver training for the GDP-RMS project. (, Dec 22, 2015).

Earthquake - Again. A 6.2 earthquake hit Afghanistan in late December 2015 causing about a dozen injuries. (Telegraph, Dec 25, 2015). A second earthquake was experienced in Kabul on January 2nd - measuring 5.3.

Nuristan - A Remote Region. Mujib Mashal writes about a remote and isolated province in northeastern Afghanistan in "Afghan Province Tucked in Mountains Lies Beyond Reach of Aid and Time", The New York Times, December 25, 2015.

Islamic State Radio. The IS militants based in eastern Afghanistan has launched their own radio station that features a 90-minute long program daily show entitled the "Voice of the Caliphate". It is in Pashto and reaches out to a wide audience within the province. Naturally the Afghan government is not pleased. Watch a two-minute long video by Radio Free Europe, December 22, 2015.

Nomads in Pamir Region. The Kyrgyz of the Pamir Mountains live in three different countries in a remote part of the world - Afghanistan, China, and Tajikistan. Learn more in "Modernity of Ancient Nomads in Pamir of Tajikstan", Radio Free Europe, December 21, 2015.

Former TAAC-South Cdr to 10th Mtn. BG Paul Bontrager is heading to Fort Drum, NY to be deputy commanding general for the 10th Mountain Division (Light). (, Dec 15, 2015).

Corruption. The country of Afghanistan is no doubt one of the most corrupt in the world. This culture of corruption is compounded with the billions of dollars that the U.S. and international community has pumped into the Afghan economy through aid and military expenditures. It is a small victory when someone actually gets charged with corruption. Read "U.S. Charges Afghan Businessman With Bribing for Contracts", Radio Free Europe, December 30, 2015.

TAPI and Peace. Barnett Rubin writes about the importance of the TAPI pipeline project and the impact it will have on peace in the region and Afghanistan's economy. While everyone applauds wildly about this seemingly important economic event some wonder how it will be built and secured in a disintegrating security situation. President Ghani's promise of protecting the pipeline's route through Afghanistan with 7,000 security personnel is ambitious but untenable. Read more in "The TAPI Pipeline and Paths to Peace in Afghanistan", The New Yorker, December 30, 2015.

Bad Year for Ghani. Afghanistan is experiencing weakness and disunity in both government and insurgent ranks. Some believe that President Ghani's first year did not go well. Read "The Guardian view on Afghanistan: a bad year for Ashraf Ghani", The Guardian, December 30, 2015.

Landai Season. Fazal Muzhary writes about this late fall / early winter traditional food feast that takes place in rural parts of Afghanistan in Landai Season: a delicacy and a feast in rural Afghanistan, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), December 30, 2015.

Data Book on Gender. The World Bank has published a handy pocket guide for users interested in gender statistics. This country by country reference could be helpful to those working gender issues in Afghanistan.

UN Security Council Debate. The Afghan ambassador to the United Nations, H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, addressed the UN Security Council in December about the situation in Afghanistan. You can listen (and watch) his 18-minute long address at the following link on YouTube.

USAID and CVE. Where does the fight against violent extremism fit within the broad spectrum of development? USAID tells you in a recent report dated September 28th, 2015.

New TAAC-North Cdr. The Train, Advise, Assist Command - North based at Camp Marmal near Mazer-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan has a new commander. A quick look at his bio indicates that this is his first deployment to Afghanistan. Hmmmm. Perhaps it was just an oversight and he has completed five six-month tours to the Graveyard of Empires? Or are the Germans falling into the American practice of selecting officers to command in Afghanistan for their career development rather than selecting officers for their vast knowledge and experience of Afghanistan's politics, culture, tribes, ethnic groups, language, history, and many years of conflict.

Turkish Labs & Afghan Opium. The director of Russia's Federal Narcotics Control Service has said that Turkish laboratories are processing Afghan opium for deliveries to Europe. According to Russia's Sputnik news (real dependable source there) the drug cargo sometimes travels along northern Afghanistan into Iran and then on to Turkey. Once processed it finds its way into Europe through the Balkans. (Khaama Press, Dec 22, 2015).

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Farah - Afghanistan's Wild West

With the departure of international troops from Farah province the Taliban and other insurgent and criminal groups are consolidating their control. The drug trade has picked up significantly and Afghan government control of much of the province has eroded. Read more in "Awash in opium, Afghan 'wild west' slips from Kabul's grasp", DNA India, February 18, 2015.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Irony of Heroin, Hoffman, and The War in Afghanistan

In the Sacramento Bee, Markos Kounalakis writes on the irony of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, his role as a CIA officer in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War", and of the resurgence of the opium trade in Afghanistan. In his short piece published on February 6, 2014 he succinctly captures the story of the drug industry in Afghanistan and the unintended consequences (the military would say "second, third, and fourth order of effects") of the U.S. intervention in 2001 and fall of the Taliban regime. Read "Hoffman, heroin and the war in Afghanistan".

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Growing Drug Trade in Afghanistan Threatens US Goals

Military leaders have cautioned that the drug trade in Afghanistan has grown in the past few years and threatens the stability and security of Afghanistan. As U.S. and NATO troops downsize it has become apparent that the drug trade is growing. Poppy cultivation brings in money for poor farmers in Afghanistan. The drug trade provides money for corrupt government officials, police and the Taliban. Security in some of the poppy growing areas has decreased making it even more difficult for those few Afghan police that are honest and try to keep the drug trade in check. Read more in "Resurgent Afghanistan drug trade threatening US goals, Pentagon warns", The Christian Science Monitor, January 20, 2014.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Afghanistan: A Failed Narco-State

At the end of 2014 U.S. and other NATO troops will depart Afghanistan - perhaps leaving a small number of troops behind to conduct Security Force Assistance. Part of what they leave behind will be an opium producing nation that has seen a rapid increase in the ability to cultivate poppies and export opium. Despite a long-term effort to eradicate the poppy cultivation there has been limited success. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) found itself in a quandary - if it sponsors and takes part in poppy eradication it alienates the rural Afghan farmers who depend on the crop for a living. If it doesn't conduct eradication missions then the Taliban will raise funds for their operations through imposing taxes on the opium proceeds. In the later years of the 13-year old war ISAF has backed away from the counter narcotics mission. The end result - a failed narco-state will remain. Read more in "America Abandons Afghanistan to Drug Lords", Newsweek, January 9, 2014.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Drug Trade Could Cause Splinter of Afghanistan

The export of opium from Afghanistan to Central Asia, Europe and other locations has reached an all-time high in 2013. There is no reason to think that this rise in the Afghan drug trade will subside in 2014. Almost all areas of the Afghan society is involved in the illicit trade of drugs to include the police, government officials, and the Taliban. There is concern that as foreign aid dwindles that even more segments of Afghan society will turn to the drug trade for financial gain and that this uptick in the drug trade will create more competition and cause the formation of a fragmented criminal state. Learn more about the Afghan drug trade in "Drug trade could splinter Afghanistan into fragmented criminal state - UN", The Guardian, January 5, 2014.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Opium Poppy Cultivation Surges in Afghanistan

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has grown for the third straight year and Afghanistan is now the number one producer of opium crops in the world. Learn more in "Afghanistan's opium crop sets new records", Stars and Stripes, December 30, 2013.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Performers Initiative (GPI) Awards Given to Afghan Provinces that Showed Progress in Counternarcotics Efforts

(Photo by SGT Chris McCullough)
The U.S. Embassy and Afghanistan's Minister for Counter Narcotics recently (Feb 13) signed an agreement allocating $18.2 million for programs supported by the Good Performers Initiative (GPI) awards. "GPI awards have been presented to 21 provinces that achieved poppy-free status in 2012, reduced poppy cultivation by more than ten percent from the previous year, or made other exceptional counter narcotics efforts during the cultivation season." Some provinces received $1 million awards for being poppy-free. The use of the funds hopefully will drive down the currently high level of poppy cultivation. You can read the entire U.S. Embassy press release entitled "U.S. Embassy and Ministry of Counter Narcotics Sign Good Performers Initiative Agreement".

Monday, February 21, 2011

Renewed Effort to Stop Opium Production in Kandahar Area

There is a renewed effort to stop the cultivation of poppies in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan.  Read more in "Afghan-Canadian governor orders eradication of opium farms in Kandahar", The Globe and Mail, February 20, 2011.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan Climbs Despite Efforts

The anti-drug campaign in Afghanistan is not making progress.  In fact, the situation has gotten worse.  Coalition forces are focusing on fighting the Taliban, farmers are making money growing the crop, and warlords, corrupt government bureaucrats and the extended Karzai family continue to get rich.  Afghanistan produces 85 % of the opium in the world.  Stopping the poppy growing has been somewhat successful in the northern and eastern provinces where security is better than in the south and west of Afghanistan where the Taliban rule the countryside.  Read more in "As opium prices soar and allies focus on Taliban, Afghan drug war stumbles", The Washington Post, January 14, 2010.