Wednesday, September 13, 2006

UN Calls to Worsen Conflict

Calls by the UN for NATO to step up its campaign against opium production in Afghanistan have thankfully been rebuffed by this military organisation as it rightly fears increased counter-narcotics operations would produce a backlash amongst the Afghan people. The opium poppy is one of the few successful crops in the region and increased measures to eradicate virtually their sole means of income would be bound to encourage Afghans to fight with the Taleban who have tactically co-opted the opium farming community to their insurgency.
The article greatly illuminates the appallingly one-sided approach of the UN to the drug problem. The Executive Director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime,Antonio Maria Costa, "warned it meant increasingly pure heroin would reach Western users and was likely to cause a surge in lethal drug overdoses" and warning that the consequences of failure would be severe for drug consuming countries. The request for NATO to dismantle the heroin producing laboratories and bring to justice the big traders blithely dismisses the problems of survival for the Afghan people. How are they to survive without the income from this, their only effective crop? It seems incredible that an organisation such as this can utter such ill-conceived demands on an already overstretched army. Such a policy would be bound to drive the Afghan people more firmly into the hands of the Taleban as the existing Western counter-narcotics programme is already achieving. The best solution, surely, is for the West to co-opt the Afghan farmers and drug lords by buying up all the opium at satisfactory prices and using it to fill the absurd worldwide shortage of morphine.

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