Afghan opium production soars

A new survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicates that the value of opium in Afghanistan soared by 133% in 2011 over the previous year, netting farmers $1.4 billion. A blight last year wiped out much of the poppy yield, driving up prices. Yields have now returned to pre-blight levels—a 61% increase, from 3,600 tons in 2010 to 5,800 tons last year. But prices remain high, and UNODC says a simultaneous drop in the price of wheat contributed to the increase in poppy cultivation. Gross income from opium in 2011 was 11 times higher than that earned from wheat—the biggest difference in income since 2003. Afghanistan currently supplies an estimated 90% of the world’s opium, with the largest areas of poppy cultivation in the country’s restive south. (VOA, Jan. 13)

See our last posts on Afghanistan and the opium wars.


  1. Urine scandal won’t stop stop capitulation to jihadists
    Here are two to file under “Gee, thanks for the good news.”

    First, a Taliban representative assures that the Internet video that has suddenly gone viral showing US troops urinating on dead Taliban fighters won’t halt efforts to establish a peace dialogue. (Reuters, Jan. 12) Funny how right and left commentators alike portray the prospect of talks with the Taliban as a good thing—despite the fact that it makes a mockery of everything the US has ostensibly (emphasis: ostensibly) been fighting for in Afghanistan for the past decade—like a secular society, elementary rights for women, etc. And lest you think that talks will at least put an end to the violence, note that the Taliban also assure that the insurgency will continue, talks notwithstanding. (AFP, Jan. 12)

    Next, NPR informs us that “NATO officials say they have reversed a disturbing trend in northern Afghanistan.” To wit, Taliban fighters who had been extending the insurgency to the north are now coming over to the government and forming an “Afghan Local Police” force to control their territory. Says NPR: “They’re not fully trained police officers or soldiers, but graduates of a cram-course in counteracting the Taliban. Despite the limited training, some do have one key advantage for performing the job: They were Taliban fighters until last year.”

    Just great. Once again: instead of totalitarian sharia enclaves loyal to the Taliban, northern Afghanistan is now coming under totalitarian sharia enclaves loyal to the US and its client regime in Kabul. Ah, progress.

    We recall yet again the old anarchist slogan—”Neither your war nor your peace.”

  2. $500 fine in Afghan corpse desecration scandal
    A US Marine has had his rank reduced and been fined $500 fine for urinating on corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan after pleading guilty at a special court martial in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 21. Staff Sgt Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty to charges of wrongful desecration, failure to properly supervise junior Marines and posing for photographs with battlefield casualties.

    Footage of the incident, which occurred during a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in July 2011, quickly went viral after it was uploaded to the Internet in January this year, sparking world-wide outrage.  

    The video shows four Marines in uniform laughing and joking while urinating on the bodies of three bearded men. One of the men says, “Have a nice day, buddy.” A caption identifies them as members of Scout Sniper Team 4. (RT, Dec. 21)