The Taliban and Opium A Deadly Combination
A brief history . Opium has been grown since 3400 B.C. The Taliban was not the first to use Opium to control a region. In 1829 Great Britain began smuggling opium into China. Addiction to opium soon became commonplace. The Chinese economy was crippled for years while the British thrived.
Who would grow opium . . Experienced poppy farmers traveled Afghanistan to teach their trade. For this reason Afghanistan was the biggest opium producer in the world. In an acre of opium was worth about $5,200, an acre of wheat was $121 For a farmer with a family growing opium is the only way to survive. • . www.armytimes.com www.dontevercallmeahero.com
The Taliban’ opium ban • The Taliban banned the growing of opium in 2001. • They enforced this ban by burning heroine labs and arresting farmers. • According to a UN survey last year there were 12,600 acres of opium, this year there were 17. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_e3gDaHO8VLQ/SGPt0GHzBlI/AAAAAAAAEBw/fMK-wbVjn5U/s320/opium_poppy.jpg
Why they banned opium • The world Demand for opium is about 4,000 tons a year. • In the past few year Opium production has far exceeded the world demand • To avert a complete price collapse they significantly reduced production. http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/opium-tm.jpg
Did they stockpile it? • The UN estimates that there is about 12,000 tons of opium stored underground • This is about a two year supply . • In addition many people may have personal stockpiles for personal savings. http://media.modbee.com/smedia/2008/04/07/17/691-LIVE_p0408_08a12poppy.embedded.prod_affiliate.11.jpg
Drug Warriors • The Taliban has it’s P.O.W.s smoke opium. • Soldiers report that Opium addiction controls them better than any prison. • The Taliban then force these “drug warriors” to fight for them. • The opium also acts as a painkiller, and makes these soldiers feel invincible. http://www.truthtree.com/images/Gide.jpg
What opium addiction does . • A user will feel a high greater than any the body can naturally produce. • They feel invulnerable, they hardly feel any pain, and someone using opium may not know they’ve been shot. • It works by blocking the brains ability to re-absorb pleasure producing endorphins. • The more you take, the more you need to get high. • Quitting is extremely difficult, since an x-user has little or no ability to feel any form of pleasure other then opium.
How to stop it • Opium is a driving force in Afghanistan’s economy, it is like oil in America. • Simply poisoning poppy fields will only drive up the price of opium and starve the farmers. • One idea brought up by Kraeutler and Costa is to slow down the distribution and transportation of opium, so the price doesn’t rise. • Also legitimate crops must be more valuable for them to be an alternative to opium.
Stopping the Taliban • The UN estimates that the Taliban makes about 300 million dollars with the opium trade. • Opium is one of the Taliban's largest source of funds, if we remove it, they won’t be able to fund their war efforts as well. • I believe that removing the opium trade will cause the Taliban to collapse. • Afghanistan can only be a prosperous nation after it looses it’s addiction to opium.