A growing concern — 13 Comments

  1. And they've managed to increase that crop despite UN troops regularly razing the crop to the ground with flamethrowers, physically cutting down and destroying said crops and spraying herbicides all over the fields they find with aeriel crop sprayers.

    They're a tough old bunch, the Afghans. I spent quite a lot of time there in the late '60s, more than six months, cumulatively, and of all the Muslim countries I travelled in, Afghanistan was the one I liked most. Back then there was none of the Taleban silliness, and you would regularly see Afghan women on the streets of Kabul wearing the western fashions and make-up. They also held responsible jobs and went to overseas universities (the wealthier, educated ones, that is. There was always a lot of poverty there).

    It was a wild country, but a hospitable one, as long as you respected the culture. Many was the time I found myself in a chai (tea) house in the middle of nowhere invited to share tea and a fiendishly strong hashish water pipe (no alcohol there) with a bunch of wild-eyed tribesmen, bandoliers strung round their chests, daggers at their waists and ancient rifles by their sides. They loved it that I could stay the course as the pipe was passed round the circle! Good times, crazy days…


    There may well be a million (probably opium, rather than heroin) addicts in Afghanistan, but what they don't tell you is that the only time that opium addiction really becomes a problem is when the supply is either withdrawn or becomes prohibitively expensive. I've known people in the mountains of the Hindu Kush (straddles NE Afghanistan and NW Pakistan) where opium is grown who have been addicts all their lives. They are fit and healthy, work and support (having sired) families and generally live quite normal lives.

    But instead of watching TV, they smoke opium. I know which I prefer… 🙂

    • Ah but Uncle Sam in the form of the US military and the Crims In Action are allegedly protecting 'their investment'.

    • If the entire Afghan population wants to smoke opium all day long it is no one's business but theirs.  Similarly there are cultures which frown upon alcohol but it is equally none of their fucking business if I want to enjoy a few pints or neck a bottle of whiskey, is it?

      If a country frowns upon opium, heroin, alcohol or chocolate then it is up to that country to deal with it within its own borders.  No country, least of all that artificial monstrosity the EU has a right to tell another country what it can or cannot do.  The sooner countries stop meddling in other countries' business then the sooner we'll have a peaceful world.

      • And if they are regularly/permanently high on opium they're less likely to be bothered with such things as warmongering.  The other side of this, of course, is that a population of irritated withdrawing addicts are more likely to resort to violence – initially in order to get their next fix if in short supply, then possibly more generally as a vent for the ongoing pain and anger if the supply further dries up.  It would seem natural that this anger might be targeted at those responsible for reducing the supply.

        A sensible policy would appear to be encourage poppy growing, let the locals have as much as they wish and engage in trade for the surplus.  Western medicine legitimately uses significant quantities of morphine so the trade wouldn't even have to involve changing drug laws.  That being said, full abolition of the US-led world-wide "war on drugs" would almost certainly reduce violent crime practically everywhere.

        • Indeed, there is a worldwide shortage of medicinal morphine – Afghanistan could easily make up the shortfall.

          That said, I completely agree with you on the futility of the 'war on drugs', which has caused untold misery – it has done far more harm than good. But of course, as with all prohibitionist measures it is led by blind, ignorant zealotry and also pays tens of thousands of people's mortgages. Without the 'war on drugs', they'd be out of a job, so of course they can think of innumerable reasons for prolonging it.

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