I can’t be alone in my unwillingness to return to any country that terminates in “stan” nor my unwillingness to see Kurdistan for the first time. Afghanistan, knowing this, reaches out to foreigners in a different fashion: they grow poppies. Invasion and drone strikes make Afghanistan a less than desirable place for terrorists, Afghans make it a truly horrible place for woman, so the only people who seemingly find Afghanistan a lovely place to live are drug lords… Warlords, would be more accurate.
Afghanistan’s poppy production at all-time high
Today, the UN office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a report that suggests that poppy production in Afghanistan will reach never-before-seen levels. In fact, it could very well exceed world demand. As a former heroin addict, I long for the days of the Taliban and that one-eyed idiot that kept production levels at a reasonable level despite his proclivity for public stonings. As a humanitarian, it would truly be a shame if my altruism had me dusting off my needles to help those less fortunate.
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The report said the total area planted with poppies rose from 154,000 to 209,000 hectares, while potential production rose by 49% to 5,500 tons.
Jean-Luc Lemahieu statement on poppy production
The author of the report, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, who heads UNODC’s Afghan division, was not only concerned with the production but the shortsightedness of the world community with regards to poppy production.
“As long as we think that we can have short-term, fast solutions for the counter-narcotics, we are continued to be doomed to fail,” he stated when asked about the spike in production.
“If the drug problem is not taken more seriously by aid, development and security actors, the virus of opium will further reduce the resistance of its host, already suffering from dangerously low immune levels due to fragmentation, conflict, patronage, corruption and impunity,” the report read.
Hyperbole aside, opium and its myriad uses and forms are a scourge at their very best.
The governmental complicity in the trade, at the risk of preaching, cannot be over, nor understated. It is a bright red flower. It is not as if any of this production is occurring outside of plain view. This is not marijuana that can be cultivated indoors and obscured.
For the hundreds of billion dollars spent in Afghanistan, the international community needs to get its head out its ass or simply declare that all poppy derivatives are simply gifts from Allah.