Newsbrief: Pentagon Adds Drugs to List of Foes in Afghanistan 10/10/03

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It was one thing when money from the opium trade financed the US-backed effort to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, incidentally paving the way for the Taliban's eventual rise to power. And the US managed not to be overly concerned when, after it overthrew the Taliban at the end of 2001, the opium poppies flowered anew, returning the county to its place as the planet's leading opium producer. After all, the heroin it produced was headed to Moscow or London, not New York or Washington.

But it's another thing when the profits from the traffic are financing a combined Taliban-Al Qaeda insurgency aimed at the US occupation forces in Afghanistan. Now, based on claims from the field that this is so, the Bush administration and the Pentagon are asking for $73 million to fight Afghan drug traffickers. The request comes as part of the administration's $87 billion Iraq war special spending request.

"This request would fund training, equipment, intelligence, infrastructure and information operations related to Afghanistan's unified campaign against narcotics trafficking," the budget request said.

Citing unnamed military intelligence sources, the pro-war Washington Times reported Monday that "convoys regularly move into southern Afghanistan from Pakistan, dropping off guns for the Taliban in exchange for opium from the world's largest poppy harvest."

Those military sources added that profits from the trade have reinvigorated the Taliban. In the last four months, Taliban fighters based in the inaccessible Pakistan-Afghanistan border region have regrouped and begun new offensives against the Americans and their allies. Last month, an estimated 1,000 Taliban fighters engaged in attacks across southeast Afghanistan, including major combat with US forces. One US soldier was killed and two others wounded in fighting in the region last week.

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Issue #306, 10/10/03 Editorial: Summer's Over -- Long Live Summer | Curtain Closes on Ontario's Summer of Legalization: Court Ruling Reinstates Possession Law, Loosens Medical Marijuana Rules | Change the Climate Ad Campaign Riles DC Pundits, Politicos | California in the Era of Arnold | New England "Governors' Summit" on Drugs: Drug War Horse and Pony Show Inside, Protestors Outside | This Week in History | Urgent Action Appeal on Singapore Drug Case from Amnesty International | Newsbrief: In Fall Term, Supreme Court Rejects South Carolina Crack Mom Appeal, Accepts Case on Ex-Drug User's Rights Under Americans With Disabilities Act | Newsbrief: Georgia Supreme Court Throws Out Driver Drug Test Law | Newsbrief: Walters Lies Pile Up in Canada Diatribe | Canadian Prime Minister Talks About Toking Up | Newsbrief: Sarasota Police Lure Would-Be Drug Dealers for Profit | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: Pentagon Adds Drugs to List of Foes in Afghanistan | Newsbrief: Vacation in Bermuda? Anti-Marijuana Campaign Underway | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | The Reformer's Calendar
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