Despite 35,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, the drug trade there is going gangbusters. The Washington Post says that the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reports Afghan opium production in 2006 up a staggering 57 percent over the previous year. Next month, the United Nations is expected to report an additional 15 percent jump in opium production this year while highlighting the sobering fact that Afghanistan now accounts for 95 percent of the world’s poppy crop. The success of the illegal narcotics industry isn’t confined to Afghanistan. Business is booming in South America, the Middle East, Africa and across the U.S.
Thirty-six years and hundreds of billions of dollars after President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs, consumers worldwide are taking more narcotics and criminals are making fatter profits than ever before. The syndicates that control narcotics production and distribution reap the profits from an annual turnover of $400 billion to $500 billion. Terrorist organizations such as the Taliban are using this money to expand their operations and buy ever more sophisticated weapons, threatening Western security. The drug war has become the Taliban’s most effective recruiter in Afghanistan. The Taliban is becoming richer and stronger by the day, especially in the east and south of the country. The “war on drugs” is defeating the “war on terror.”