Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jun 2006
Source: Parksville Qualicum Beach News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Parksville Qualicum Beach News
Author: John Seeland
Bookmark: (Heroin)


A recent letter to your newspaper berated the Taliban for instituting 
a "severe and cruel regime" in Afghanistan and refutes an earlier 
writer's statement the real issue in Afghanistan is oil.

I agree partially with both writers, but want to fill in a couple of 
missing pieces.

It's common knowledge the Taliban and various oil companies are, or 
have been, involved in planning pipelines in Afghanistan.

It's also true the Taliban represent fundamentalist Islamic views and 
did institute bans on everything from music to dress codes.

They also banned the cultivation of the opium poppy.

"According to intelligence estimates, heroin production has decreased 
significantly in most source areas, particularly in Southeast Asia 
and South America. In fact, worldwide heroin production outside 
Afghanistan decreased approximately 60 per cent ... from 2001 through 
2004. Conversely, heroin production in Afghanistan increased sharply 
following the defeat of the Taliban, from 2001 to 2004." (U.S. DEA website.)

"The hardline Taliban regime, which ruled Afghanistan until 2001, 
greatly reduced opium poppy cultivation. However, under the rule of 
the new democratically elected president, Hamid Karzai, opium 
production is approaching record highs, with poppies now being grown 
in all of Afghanistan's 32 provinces." (CBC News, Nov. 18, 2004.)

Abdul Karim Brahowie, Afghanistan's minister of tribal and frontier 
affairs, says that the government has become so full of drug 
smugglers that cabinet meetings have become a farce.

"'Sometimes the people who complain the loudest about theft are 
thieves themselves,' he says." (Christian Science Monitor, May 13, 2005.)

Two final points:

In addition to oil and heroin, hundreds of millions of dollars worth 
of contracts have been handed to companies like Halliburton and 
Bechtel to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the overpriced 
weapons bought from western military contractors, both at enormous profits.

Finally, tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been, and 
continue to be, killed by the coalition forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

I sincerely hope that only a small number of Canadians are gullible 
enough to believe that we are involved in an honourable "struggle 
against international terrorism."

John Seeland

Nanoose Bay
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