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Editorial: Enough Already -- Stop Funding the Taliban Through Opium Prohibition

David Borden, Executive Director
David Borden
The drug war is in part a human rights issue. With half a million people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, with medical marijuana providers being hounded by the authorities, with needle exchange programs that are needed to save lives getting blocked, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy itself opposing San Francisco's proposed safe injection site (when did it become wrong to save lives?), with countries pressured by us to spray their lands with harmful chemicals to attack unstoppable drug crops, the United States through its drug policy has become a major human rights violator. It is a sad chapter.

We at DRCNet partly see drug reform as a human rights movement, and so ten years ago when very few Americans had heard of the Taliban, but the UN and the Clinton administration intended to fund them to do opium eradication, we condemned the Taliban in this newsletter and criticized the proposal. The fear of human rights advocates was that the brutal regime would be able to use the money to further establish its hold on power. Anyone who watched the footage of Taliban atrocities airing on US news stations after 9/11 can understand why that's a bad thing. Other reasons for opposing the Taliban are quite well known now.

Today we continue to fund the Taliban -- we don't say we do, we claim to be fighting them, we even send our soldiers to fight them in person -- but we are funding them. We are funding them by prohibiting drugs. Because drugs are illegal, they cannot be regulated, and so their source plants are grown wherever and by whomever is willing and able to gain a foothold in the market. For a large share of the global opium supply, at the moment that means Afghanistan. And the Taliban are cashing in on that.

And how. Just this week, a NATO commander said opium may provide as much as 40% of the Taliban's revenues, hundreds of millions of dollars -- some experts say it's more like 60%, he added. If opium-derived drugs were legal and regulated, that wouldn't happen. And governments are therefore at fault for creating a funding source for a movement that is destabilizing Afghanistan, that is abusing the rights of its people, and that may still be helping Al-Qaeda, all of this five years after we thought we had gotten rid of them for good.

US officials continue to press for more opium eradication, but experts agree that eradication helps the Taliban too, by driving the farmers into their arms -- of course while failing to reduce the opium crop, instead only moving it from place to place. And while Afghanistan's government has not unleashed all the eradication the US government wants, it has done enough to hurt. A hundred thousand Afghans are employed in the opium trade and don't have another way to make a living. We can't just tell them they can't grow opium anymore, and expect them to comply or that serious damage to the nation-building and counter-insurgency programs won't result.

Ten years ago, the west helped the Taliban for the sake of fighting the drug war. Today, the Taliban is an enemy, and we fight the drug war supposedly to fight them, but in the process instead help them -- see how no matter what direction the drug war compass points, one way or its opposite, it never points to anywhere good. That is why I say, enough already, stop funding the Taliban and other dangerous people through drug prohibition, legalize drugs to make this world a safer place.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Repeal prohibition and starve the beasts

I couldn't agree more, David.

With repeal (and regulation), we could easily pay Afghan opium farmers many times what the warlords now pay, removing them from the business while creating an economic base for stability in, and a real future for, Afghanistan.

The same holds true for the warring factions holding South Americans hostage. Deprive them of cocaine's profits and watch them fade into obscurity as stability returns to that region.

These are just two of the many beneficial results of global drug repeal. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that repeal will reduce the overall crime rate in America by at least 50%. We will return to a rate and profile of crime last seen in the 50s. It won't be like Happy Days, but it will be close.

The End Will Never Come!

I am very proactive and a board member for NORML's Eastern Washington Chapter.

Although everything you speak is truth it will never happen regardless of how many people in America join forces to stop the prohibition.

The old money and power doesn't want to deal with new economic ramificatons. They like sitting happy where they are spending billions on little goodies for cops, DEA, FBI and SWAT. As long as the goverment is allowed to self perpetuate its existance we will never win.

Sure we can make laws that are an illusion and seemingly protect cancer patients from Federal Abuse, but this is merely a delusion by pro drug advocates! It doesn't stop the federal goverment from defying "we the people's" decision to take our own health into our own hands without idiot doctors and legislators deciding what is right and wrong with my personal liberties!

America has held NATO at bay forcing it to take on America's drug laws. Some countries have broken away from NATO compliances and their countries are doing fine, in most cases crime has gone down and jails are so full in places like Amsterdam and until recently Canada, unfortunately they have a Bush lackey in office again sending the Canadian movement 20 years back.

As much as I would like to see it I doubt it will ever happen before the end of our primitive existance, but we can always dare to dream! :) and continue to work for that goal!

Globalization of Idiocy

And the same applice for Colombia, where an eternal war between army, guerrilla and paramilitaries is financed by drug prohibition, for the happiness of Washington, Monsanto and all those that profit from a world full of violence

Double Edged Sword

Eradication of Afghani opium is a double-edged sword, except both edges of the sword appear to inflict negative consequences. America’s man in power, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, is in a very weak political position and eradication opponents believe spraying the poppies could result in his ouster from office, which would be a victory and a propaganda coup for the Taliban. If the poppies are not eliminated, then a big chunk of drug money will end up in the hands of the Taliban.

In a strange twist on the story, a recent news article revealed that the U.S. in 2004 carried out what was to be a secret test where planes dumped small, inert plastic pellets onto the Afghani poppy fields to gauge the outrage of the farmers to an aerial spraying of their crops. Result: the Afghani farmers were outraged.

A more detailed news item that contains the pellet information plus more details can be found at .


beating a dead horse?

To our NORML friend:

As long as NORML continues to advocate criminal sanctions against those marijuana merchants risking much to afford us our daily buzz, and with the ONDCP and their ilk dirty dancing to the tune of such dysfunction, your pessimistic prognosis will continue dangerously toward self-fulfillment.

Dare to dream, indeed...


I think everyone should stop buying pot. The pleasure it gives us is not worth the support it gives to the current oppressive system. Once we get rid of the system then we can get happy.without being guilty


Once we quit smoking pot, it would seem, the current system would declare victory. Then try to get rid of them then...

Re: Ummm...

Actually, I didn't say we should stop SMOKING pot. The handicrafter is no alienating his/her labour.

OK, but...

OK, quit buying pot. But that infers we should all just grow our own - and we don't. If there ever was a motivation for growing your own, prohibition is it. Yet it seems we are willing to pay the high tax prohibition places on pot. In Amsterdam, where the price of pot and hashish is much, much lower than here, very few folks grow their own. And why don't they? The answer is the same for why virtually all beer and wine drinkers don't brew or ferment their own: price and convenience.

Win-win, Lose -lose

The USA is a WARSTATE. How can perpetual war be waged if the opposing sides ability (money) is ended? Of course, progress must ,at times , be demonstrated. So ,in the give and take of the situation, crops will be burned. Only to be mysteriously regrown during the next season. This way you win some, you lose some, you win some....etc. The solution,IMHO, is buy and regulate the crops. That is win-win. Happy farmers are peacefull farmers. But then ,of course,happy is not what war is about.

Drug war is treason against the USA

Thank you David for seeing this issue. I have been screaming into the wind for six years about the drug war's support of terrorism.

The United States Constitution

Article III

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Since the day that the United States congress declared war on all terrorists support for the war on drugs has been an act of treason against the United States of America. The war on drugs funds at least half of the stateless terrorist armies on the planet. Not only the Taliban but alQaida as well.

alQaida especially.

"giving them aid and comfort"

The war on drugs gives America's enemies financial "aid" as well as tactical and logistical "comforts". And our government has known this since before September 11, 2001.

alQaida specializes in asymmetric warfare. Using non traditional weapons and tactics. One such weapon is heroin. alQaida has advocated flooding the west with heroin as means to destabilizing western culture. They are doing the same thing in Pakistan in order to get control of the nuclear arsenal there. They call the campaign the "silent jihad". I have hosted this web page on the issue since 2002. al Qaeda's success strategy - Silent Jihad -

As the Twin Towers still smoldered in Sept. 2001 United States Senator John Kerry, a major drug war supporter, told reporters of the silent jihad.

"That's part of their revenge on the world," Kerry said. "Get as many people drugged out and screwed up as you can."

This specifically is why I opposed John Kerry for president. He knows that the children of the west are being targeted as cannon fodder in the war on terror and he does nothing but stay the course on the drug war. How can local police be expected to combat alQaida when our national politicians give alQaida the weapon?

Confronting politicians with the treason of their drug war support will do more than anything else to end the drug war. Here are a couple of my efforts to confront politicians.

Obama and national security

Seeds of Insurrection in America's Field of Dreams...

I made this page for the 2004 elections John Kerry
Drug Warrior

I confronted Kerry twice when he campaigned in my community. He has been softening his drug war stance since then.


teen drug use=unhealthy
drug use and pregnancy=unhealthy
drug addiction leads to violence

and I agree that drugs should be legalized. but these things will increase drasticly. America will become a less proffesional productive place. So there are reasons for this war, they are just outwayed by the cons of it.

Actually all evidence states

Actually all evidence states that drug addiction does NOT lead to violence, drug PROHIBITION leads to violence. The only drug shown scientifically to actually CAUSE violence is the legal one, alcohol, there is no evidence that any other drug causes violence, it is the black market created by prohibition that causes the violence. Look at the gangland wars of the 1st prohibition and i think you'll see the corelation.

Also, there is no evidence that supports your assertions that endoing prohibition will lead to a less proffessional or productive society. That is complete conjecture put forth by those who refuse to admit the scale of the disaster of prohibition.

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