Opium cultivation shrunk by 80 percent under Taliban: The Spectator
Afghanistan once supplied 82 percent of the world's opium.
A report by Niko Vorobyov for The Spectator details the drastic changes that are taking place in the narcotic industry amid the Taliban's efforts to phase out the illicit narcotics trade, particularly with regard to the production of morphine and opium-related products.
According to the report, it took only one year for the Taliban to eradicate about 80 percent of opium cultivation, something which the UK and the US were both either unable or unwilling to fulfill when troops occupied the country.
"They sure showed us up," Vorobyov writes. "In 2001, Tony Blair said stopping Afghan heroin from reaching British shores was one of the main reasons for sending in troops to oust the Taliban."
"The Taliban, it seems, achieved what two decades of our occupation could not," he adds.
As Afghanistan once supplied 82 percent of the world's opium, does that mean that there will be fewer drugs will be circulating in the market, he asks?
The obvious answer is no. Research has shown us that when one supplier is eliminated, another will quickly fill the shoes, and oftentimes the quality or strength is unknown -- leading to higher instances of drug overdoses.
Moreover, the drug trafficking of narcotics was strategic in disrupting communities that were anti-Status Quo, such as Black resistance movements in the US during the 1960s, or the hippies who voiced their opposition against the Vietnam War.
The Taliban attempted to implement rehabilitation programs via "prison-like detox centers," but the attempt apparently failed as addicts returned to the streets.
With less morphine being produced, traffickers are opting for the production of stronger and more lethal alternatives, such as fentanyl or tranq dope.
Besides having a strong potential for dependency and abuse, the production of these new drugs involves fewer risks as they get to be produced synthetically in labs.
In sum, the Taliban's crackdown on poppy farmers may soon aggravate the drug crisis, and cause more harm than good to the West.