Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Drugs Bust

Ending the Afghan drugs trade was a key argument used by Tony Blair to justify deploying British troops to the country. He said in 2001: "The arms the Taliban buy are paid for by the lives of young British people buying their drugs. This is another part of the regime we should destroy."

As British troops prepare to leave Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, poppy cultivation is soaring to record levels and there is no sign that the Afghan government has the will or the means to tackle the problem, the Commons defence committee said.

 Helmand province remains by far the largest opium poppy growing area and production has been rising significantly there over the past few years. Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2013, according to a survey by the UN. Cultivation amounted to some 209,000 hectares, outstripping the earlier record in 2007 of 193,000 hectares.

Total opium production in 2013 increased by about 5,500 tonnes, a 49% increase over 2012.

"The counter-narcotics strategy of the UK government in Afghanistan has failed", the Commons defence committee report concluded. Dai Havard, a senior member of the committee said: "After over 12 years of operations in Afghanistan, the British people quite rightly expect a thorough analysis.”

No comments: