Monday, December 23, 2013

Afghanistan is Growing Opium at Record Levels

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   “Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached a sobering record high in 2013,” said the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).

   From a report on from Dec. 2 by Ali Meyer, we learn that after twelve years of U.S. Occupation in Afghanistan, the opium trade isn't diminishing -- but growing stronger. In fact, Afghanistan, in the latest world-wide data on opium-cultivation, dedicates more land to the cultivation of opium than the rest of the world combined.

   Afghanistan grew 209,000 hectares of opium in 2013, breaking the previous high of 193,000 set in 2007. Put into perspective, the year the U.S. Sent troops there in 2001, Afghanistan grew a record low 7,606 hectares.

   In May of this year, the UNODC's “World Drug Report” gives the stats on the opium producing countries for 2011. Afghanistan then had 131,000 hectares, followed by Myanmar with 43,600, Mexico with 12,000, Lao People's Democratic Republic with 4,100, Pakistan with 362, Columbia with 338, and various other countries with 16,100 hectares.

   U.S. Troops have also increased over the years, when in 2002 there was 10,400 troops there, followed by 32,800 when Obama took office in 2009. After Obama took office, the troops rose sharply to 98,000 in September 2010, and now in 2013 there are still 60,000 U.S. Troops there, according to a NATO report in October of this year.

   This information indicates America's presence in Afghanistan is clearly not intended to curtail the opium trade, but actually indicates it's helping to support the growth of the drug trade. This contradiction to our “Drug War” at home, seems hypocritical when many are in prisons for years because of the use and sale of drugs derived from this poppy plant. A responsible citizen would question our presence and use of American troops in Afghanistan, asking is it worth the lives of our troops to support this destructive drug trade?

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