Location USA USA

The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

In 2014 the Afghan opium cultivation has once again hit a record high, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 Afghan Opium Survey

In the course of the last four years, there has been a surge in Afghan opium production.  The Vienna based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reveals that poppy cultivation in 2012 extended over an area of  more than  154,000 hectares, an increase of 18% over 2011. A UNODC  spokesperson confirmed in 2013 that opium production is heading towards record levels.
War is good for business. The Afghan opium economy feeds into a lucrative trade in narcotics and money laundering.
Source:  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC)

According to the 2012 Afghanistan Opium Survey released in November 2012 by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). potential opium production in 2012 was of the order of 3,700 tons, a decline of 18 percent in relation to 2001, according to UNODC data. 

There is reason to believe that this figure of 3700 tons is grossly underestimated. Moreover, it contradicts the UNOCD’s own predictions of record harvests over an extended area of cultivation.

While bad weather and damaged crops may have played a role as suggested by the UNODC, based on historical trends, the potential production for an area of cultivation of 154,000 hectares, should be well in excess of 6000 tons.  With 80,000 hectares in cultivation in 2003,  production was already of the order of  3600 tons.

It is worth noting that UNODC has modified the concepts and figures on opium sales and heroin production, as outlined by the  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). 

A change in UN methodology in 2010 resulted in a sharp downward revision of Afghan heroin production estimates for 2004 to 2011. UNODC used to estimate that the entire global opium crop was processed into heroin, and provided global heroin production estimates on that basis. Before 2010, a global conversion rate of about 10 kg of opium to 1 kg of heroin was used to estimate world heroin production (17). For instance, the estimated 4 620 tonnes of opium harvested worldwide in 2005 was thought to make it possible to manufacture 472  tonnes of heroin (UNODC, 2009a). However, UNODC now estimates that a large proportion of the Afghan opium harvest is not processed into heroin or morphine but remains ‘available on the drug market as opium’ (UNODC, 2010a). …EU drug markets report: a strategic analysis, EMCDDA, Lisbon, January 2013 emphasis added

There is no evidence that a large percentage of opium production is no longer processed into heroin as claimed by the UN. This revised UNODC methodology has served, –through the outright manipulation of statistical concepts– to artificially reduce the size of of the global trade in heroin.

According to the UNODC, quoted in the EMCDDA report:

“an estimated 3 400 tonnes of Afghan opium was not transformed into heroin or morphine in 2011. Compared with previous years, this is an exceptionally high proportion of the total crop, representing nearly 60 % of the Afghan opium harvest and close to 50 % of the global harvest in 2011.

What the UNODC, –whose mandate is to support the prevention of organized criminal activity– has done is to obfuscate the size and criminal nature of the Afghan drug trade, intimating –without evidence– that a large part of the opium is no longer channeled towards the illegal heroin market.

In 2012 according to the UNODC,  farmgate prices for opium were of the order of 196 per kg.

Each kg. of opium produces 100 grams of pure heroin. The US retail prices for heroin (with a low level of purity) is, according to UNODC of the order of $172 a gram. The price per gram of pure heroin is substantially higher.

The profits are largely reaped at the level of the international wholesale and retail markets of heroin as well as in the process of money laundering in Western banking institutions. 

The revenues derived from the global trade in heroin constitute a multibillion dollar bonanza for financial institutions and organized crime.

Record Production in 2016. Fake Eradication Program
According to the YNODC: 
“Opium production in Afghanistan rose by 43 per cent to 4,800 metric tons in 2016 compared with 2015 levels, according to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey figures released today by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the UNODC. The area under opium poppy cultivation also increased to 201,000 hectares (ha) in 2016, a rise of 10 per cent compared with 183,000 ha in 2015.
This represents a twentyfold increase in the areas under opium cultivation since the US invasion in October 2001. In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.

Source: UNODC

The following article first published in May 2005 provides a background on the history of the Afghan opium trade which continues to this date to be protected by US-NATO occupation forces on behalf of powerful financial  interests. 

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *