The 14 sept. 2006 – Couple Rio News
Afghanistan once again breaks all opium production records, poised to flood Europe with premium heroin.
According to data recently released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (ONUDC), opium poppy cultivation has increased by 59 % this year to achieve 165.000 hectares, against 100.000 in 2005, the overall harvest of raw opium expected to amount to 6.100 tons.
To this we must add that this year, according to Afghan experts, opium is particularly rich in morphine: it only takes 7 kg of raw opium to make one kg of heroin.
This ratio is exceptionally rare. Usually, making one kg of heroin requires 10 at 15 kg d’opium. So, the 4.000 tonnes of raw opium harvested last year in Afghanistan, still according to the UNODC, allowed to produce 400 tons of heroin. This means that with the current morphine content of opium the 6.100 tons of raw opium could yield more than 870 tons of heroin. An absolutely fantastic figure.
It's easy to imagine how many tonnes of this high-quality hard drug will hit the Russian and European markets in 2006. Especially since in Afghanistan the scheme including the opium harvest, its transformation into morphine and heroin and, finally, the export of opiates to consuming countries via reliable routes is regulated like music paper.
The question is whether or not it is possible to stem the flow of Afghan drugs.
In Afghanistan, control mechanisms are absent, whether they are economic or military mechanisms. As for the international anti-terrorism coalition and the international security assistance force (ISAF), they need a special UN mandate to carry out opium poppy seed destruction operations and heroin laboratories.
United States, who lead the anti-terrorist coalition, or NATO, who sponsors ISAF, will never go to the UN Security Council for the necessary mandate. Especially the United States which, unlike ISAF, have no UN mandate in Afghanistan. What's the use of falling out with the locals, especially since the Russian and European problems related to Afghan drugs are completely foreign to them? “Rising drug production in Afghanistan explained by growing demand in Europe and Russia. To eradicate the problem, joint efforts of Russia and Western Europe are needed in Afghanistan”, notably estimated the US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
Illusions about possible ISAF assistance dispelled by UNODC director, Antonio Maria Costa, at an international Afghan drug conference in Moscow. In his opinion, the experimental engagement of ISAF troops mobilized in 2005 to destroy opium poppy crops and chemical laboratories by 2005 did not have the desired effect and increased tensions with the local population. ISAF assistance will now be limited to logistical support and training of Afghan personnel.
M. Costa also dispelled the myth of “drug trailers” who roam Afghanistan under the beard of the United States and ISAF. The “caravans” existent, just it's not about drugs, but of its precursors. The precursor is a reagent used in the manufacture of a toxic chemical. To turn a ton of raw opium into heroin, it is necessary, according to experts, 2 at 6 tonnes of acetic anhydride.
On the 4.000 tonnes of raw opium, Afghanistan imported more than 10.000 tonnes of acetic anhydride, specified M. Costa. A real “caravan”, because we must 500 trucks 20 tonnes to transport this quantity of chemical agents.
Acetic anhydride is not of Afghan origin. Today, according to experts, this chemical is only made in China, in India and Russia. It remains to be seen how these “caravans” manage to go unnoticed in an Afghanistan with underdeveloped road infrastructure and in neighboring countries.
Beginning of July, the Afghan authorities had to admit the ineffectiveness of the measures applied in the country to curb the illegal manufacture of narcotics. New law on combating drug production passed last year, just like the ministry specially created for this purpose, were of no help, and the problem remains.
How to solve it? A UNODC coordinator for Central Asia said that “despite the efforts of the Central Asian governments, transit through this region is not decreasing”.
Afghan opium continues to spread despite everything. Russia and Western Europe have only hope with the annual extension of 50% opium poppy seeded areas, the area of cultivable land in Afghanistan will shrink. Nowadays, on the 7 million hectares of cultivable land, only 165.000 have been highlighted.
Article from www.mondialisation.ca HERE