The War on Terror has finally blended in to the War on Drugs to the extent that it is no longer possible to ignore the connection.
AFGHANISTAN: A DOWN YEAR FOR OPIUM PRODUCTION, BUT IS THE TRAFFICKING THREAT RECEDING?
Aunohita Mojumdar 8/27/08
A EurasiaNet Q&A with UNODC Afghanistan Country Chief Christina Oguz
Afghanistan experienced a 19 percent decrease in the land under opium poppy cultivation in 2008 in comparison with the previous year, according to a report prepared by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. But even as the Afghan government lauds the decline, UN experts worry about another spike in production. This concern is underscored by the fact that actual production of opium declined only by 6 percent in 2008 over the previous year, the UNODC report states.
Winning the war against drugs in Afghanistan will be possible only if farmers who forsake the cultivation of poppies receive a level of economic and technical assistance that can help them grow alternative cash crops, UNODC officials suggest. Presently, the level of aid being given to these farmers is insufficient to achieve the desired aim. In some poppy-free areas, especially in the North, farmers are opting to cultivate cannabis, a plant much more difficult to detect.
Oguz: I do think [[ISAF is] getting more on board and there are lots of areas of course where [it is] synchronizing. This is what people tell me. I don’t have concrete information. Obviously ISAF has another mandate, which is security, but they are operating in the areas where you have all these phenomena we talked about. The link between insurgency and drug trafficking and drug production is very close.
EurasiaNet: Is the link between insurgency and drug trafficking getting stronger?
Oguz: Yes it is getting stronger. Afghan law enforcement officials do see drugs and weapons and suicide equipment and terrorist manuals in the field.
EurasiaNet: How will this linkage impact the situation here? You have called for urgent action on this.
Oguz: It is very, very, very worrying because in a way you have all the evils concentrated in one part of the country [- the South]. … [The drug traffickers and the insurgents] have different agendas, but they have something in common and that is money and power.
The way to fight terror is to eradicate terrorists. The way not fight drugs is through eradication programs. We know this because that has been our principle strategy for forty years and world production of pot, heroin, cocaine, etc. is massively larger today than forty years ago.
However, as the article persuasively states, a successful outcome on the drug front would be a key ingredient to success on the terror front. And certainly so with respect to the Afghan Taliban/AlQaeda insurgency.
Eradication, if it were not guaranteed to fail, would take money away from the insurgency, money that is critical for it’s viable continuance. However, legalization would have exactly the desired result, and is guaranteed to succeed.
Legalization is not decriminalization of drug users, it’s decriminalization of our society. With legalization a nation with a very large criminal subculture would instantly become a society of law abiding citizens, existing in a much safer world.