The Opium Road


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In and , just as the CIA effort was beginning to ramp up, a network of heroin laboratories opened along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. Inside Pakistan, the number of heroin addicts surged from near zero yes, zero in to 5, in , and 1.

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Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia) - Wikipedia

As the mujahideen guerrillas gained ground against the Soviet occupation and began to create liberated zones inside Afghanistan in the early s, the resistance helped fund its operations by collecting taxes from peasants who grew the lucrative opium poppies, particularly in the fertile Helmand valley. But the main objective was accomplished.

The Soviets left Afghanistan. O ver the longer term, the US intervention produced a black hole of geopolitical instability that would never again be sealed or healed. Afghanistan could not readily recover from the unprecedented devastation it suffered in the years of the first American intervention. As the Soviet-Afghan war wound down between and , the Washington-led alliance essentially abandoned the country, failing either to sponsor a peace settlement or finance reconstruction. While Washington turned away from Afghanistan to other foreign policy hotspots in Africa and the Persian Gulf, a vicious civil war broke out in a country that had already suffered, between and , some 1.

During the years of civil strife among the many well-armed warlords the CIA had left primed to fight for power, Afghan farmers raised the only crop that ensured instant profits: Having multiplied twentyfold during the covert-war era of the s, the opium harvest would more than double again during the civil war of the s.

Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)

In addition, only opium merchants were capable of accumulating capital rapidly enough to be able to provide poor poppy farmers with much-needed cash advances, which often provided more than half their annual income. That credit would prove critical to the survival of many impoverished villagers. Later, Pakistan threw its backing behind a newly arisen Pashtun force, the Taliban.

After seizing Kabul in and taking control of much of the country, the Taliban regime encouraged local opium cultivation, offering government protection to the export trade and collecting much-needed taxes on both the opium harvested and the heroin manufactured. In July , however, as a devastating drought entered its second year and hunger spread across Afghanistan, the Taliban government suddenly ordered a ban on all opium cultivation, in an apparent appeal for international acceptance.

Instead, the UN imposed new sanctions on the regime for protecting Osama bin Laden. In October , the US began bombing the country, and then, with the support of British forces, launched an invasion spearheaded by local warlords. The Taliban regime collapsed with a speed that surprised many government officials. In retrospect, it seems likely that its opium prohibition was a crucial factor. To an extent not generally appreciated, Afghanistan had, for two full decades, devoted a growing share of its resources — capital, land, water and labour — to the production of opium and heroin.

The main player in the country's drug market is the United Wa State Army , ethnic fighters who control areas along the country's eastern border with Thailand, part of the infamous Golden Triangle. Poppy cultivation in the country decreased more than 80 percent from to following an eradication campaign in the Golden Triangle. Officials with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime say opium poppy farming is now expanding.

A United Nations report cites corruption, poverty and a lack of government control as causes for the jump. Opium and heroin base produced in northeastern Myanmar are transported by horse and donkey caravans to refineries along the Thailand—Burma border for conversion to heroin and heroin base. Most of the finished products are shipped across the border into various towns in North Thailand and down to Bangkok for further distribution to international markets. In the past major Thai Chinese and Burmese Chinese traffickers in Bangkok have controlled much of the foreign sales and movement of Southeast Asian heroin from Thailand, but a combination of law enforcement pressure, publicity and a regional drought has significantly reduced their role.

As a consequence, many less-predominant traffickers in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand now control smaller quantities of the heroin going to international markets. California and Hawaii are the primary U. While Southeast Asian groups have had success in trafficking heroin to the United States, they initially had difficulty arranging street level distribution.

However, with the incarceration of Asian traffickers in American prisons during the s, contacts between Asian and American prisoners developed. These contacts have allowed Southeast Asian traffickers access to gangs and organizations distributing heroin at the retail level. In recent years, the production has shifted to Yaba and other forms of methamphetamine , including for export to the United States. During Kuomintang rule over the Republic of China opium trafficking was used for funds by Chiang Kai-shek.

The Mao Zedong government is generally credited with eradicating both consumption and production of opium during the s using unrestrained repression and social reform. Remaining opium production shifted south of the Chinese border into the Golden Triangle region.

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In , China was estimated to have four million regular drug users and one million registered drug addicts. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Destruction of opium at Humen and Treaty of Nanking. Modern China and Opium: University of Michigan Press.

Although many of the specific techniques they used were similar to those of the Nationalists, the Communist anti-opium campaigns were carried out in the context of the successful effort to use mass campaigns to bring all aspects of local life under control, and thus the Communists were considerably more successful than were the Nationalists.

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Opium and drug use would not be a problem again in China until the post-Mao era. Communist china and illicit narcotic traffic. United States Government Printing Office. Chinese communists' world-wide narcotic war.

Ministry of Interior, Republic of China. Lodwick 5 February Protestant Missionaries in China, — University Press of Kentucky.

Uncovering the Politics of the Poppy. New Studies and Perspectives. The Making of Addiction: The Opium War, — Univ of North Carolina Press. Faith and Politics in Victorian Britain. The Indo-Chinese opium trade considered in relation to its history, morality, and expediency, and its influence on Christian missions.

The fortune-teller of Kabul | May Jeong

Prefatory note by Lord Justice Fry. University of California Press, pp. Essays in History and Culture. The Search for Modern China. Opium, State, and Society: China's Narco-Economy and the Guomindang, — University of Hawaii Press. Archived from the original on April 4, Retrieved May 4, Retrieved June 8, Protestant missions to China. Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal.

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