“Opium economy” from Afghanistan to Kosovo*

Writing my articles about geopolitical position of Kosovo*, an essential thesis that confirms stealing territory from Serbia actually refers to the drug route or so called in Balkans “green transversal”. This itinerary is the way of drugs moving from Afghanistan to Kosovo* and after further to the Europe. Two years ago, one joke appeared on the Internet that the producer of heroin acknowledged the independence of its distributor. It was about Afghanistan, which was officially first acknowledged the independence of Kosovo*. By some estimates, about 65% of the world’s heroin passes through this Serbian province, while 90% of the total amount of drugs coming into Europe from Kosovo*, and all of security for that trade is provided from Bondsteel base. As we can see this is not an ordinary story, and its real foothold we can see in the latest article published by The Economist.

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On the other hand, when carried out the intervention in Afghanistan, the U.S.  justified struggle against “world terrorism”. After the intervention and disposition of ISAF troops, apart from terrorism they have found themselves in the fight against drugs. Their focus in this kind of the fight to prevent the production of opium was in the incentives that are set aside for Afghan farmers with a view to grow wheat instead of poppies. Except farmers, they also financially rewarded local politicians on whose territories was registered decline in production. Indeed, in this system of prevention U.S. invested more than $ 10 billion, according to data presented by the Special Inspector for Afghanistan John Sopko, responsible for overseeing of the process.

It would be great if something was really achieved with this huge money, but actually according to official UN report about cultivation of poppy in last year these awarded wheat growing Afghan farmers, actually broke down the record in cultivation of opium. That fact is absurd even more because before the intervention in Afghanistan they did not have so much area planted with opium, while after the intervention production always had an upward trend and now it reached its peak.

To make this worse, the money that was invested in reducing cultivation, primarily was invested in those areas that are less hostile to the United States soldiers because of personnel security reasons. The result of this was counterproductive as it increased production in the provinces that are under the control of the Taliban fighters. With simple economic calculations if they reduce the production, demand remains the same (or increases in drug case), then the price can only grow. This has two economic consequences:

First one is that the manufacturer makes more money because it produces the same as before then but now for a higher price, which means he has more money to reinvest in even greater production of heroin. The second one takes some time, because it encourages higher profits and greater production of both existing manufacturers and new participants. Thus, the global supply of heroin is growing.

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Regard this analysis, I participated last year in one seminar in Prague, organized by the Diplomatic Division of NATO. Among other sessions there was one guided by Peter Pelc, former ambassador of the Czech Republic in Afghanistan. He mostly talked about how this country is stabilized by a process of democratization after the fall of the Taliban government.

On my statement in this context addressed to ambassador Pelz,  that Kosovo* is major transit hub for drugs coming from Afghanistan and that is what actually mostly hold the economy  of “west”, and that these are two “countries” that are in the process of democratization and nation-building and in both we can find U.S. bases located under cover and ensuring this commerce, and that there is no much coincidence when Afghanistan was the first country that recognized Kosovo*, later I presented him the following data from  UN report, but then I did not know how much U.S. invested to suppress cultivation. After this statement the question just raised itself.

Does NATO troops protect the interests of the people or provide the drug trade that flows freely? The answer that I received from the ambassador after a few seconds of silence and scratching his head was extremely funny, and boiled down to the fact that Kosovo * and Afghanistan can not be compared in terms of state-building and that good questions cant always give us good answers. For smart person that answer is enough.

This brief analyse in all ways made pointless American principles of fighting in Afghanistan, and possibly also whole their intervention, because after so many years they achieved nothing within their official plans. On the other hand certainly they have reached money interests of the military and other industries. Economically where we have demand, profit will always find its way. But I guess  it is clear to everyone reasonable that the “War on drugs” is just an ordinary “perpetuum mobile” for the trade financed by tax dollars, of which the profit for the most part stays in the hands of powerful individuals.

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One thought on ““Opium economy” from Afghanistan to Kosovo*

  1. Pingback: Balcani: rotte e via di transito di jihadisti e trafficanti di droga | Center for Oriental Strategic Monitoring (COSMO)

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