Afghanistan: February 27, 2002


The much publicized Taliban on poppy growing in 2000 turns out to have been a scam. Taking advantage of the severe drought in parts of the country, and restricting where journalists could go, the Taliban pulled off a deception. Poppy production fell only about ten percent in 2000, mainly because of the drought. It's not known how American spy satellites were deceived. With Western anti-drug officials now able to move around Afghanistan, it's become clear that the drug gangs have produced so much heroin (and other drugs derived from poppies), that they have at least a three year supply and have an understanding to control exports in order to keep the price high. But things might get ugly, as farmers in other drug areas (especially Southeast Asia and South America) believed the stories of drug shortages in Afghanistan and have begun growing more poppies. There could be a price war, and when that happens with drugs, things tend to get violent and nasty. Moreover, cheaper drugs means more Afghans, Indians, Pakistanis and Iranians become addicts as producers dump their surpluses at cheap prices in local markets. 


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