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2009 Afghan Opium Survey Summary Findings

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  • Blue
    replied
    Funny how that worked out though.;)

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    As usual, the UN REMF screwed up his own job. The Taliban was wiping out opium farms because the stock they held was next to worthless. They were driving up prices.

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  • Blue
    replied
    The Taliban, which has imposed a strict brand of Islam in the 95 percent of Afghanistan it controls, has set fire to heroin laboratories and jailed farmers until they agreed to destroy their poppy crops.

    The U.N. surveyors, who completed their search this week, crisscrossed Helmand, Kandahar, Urzgan and Nangarhar provinces and parts of two others -- areas responsible for 86 percent of the opium produced in Afghanistan last year, Frahi said in an interview Wednesday. They covered 80 percent of the land in those provinces that last year had been awash in poppies.

    This year they found poppies growing on barely an acre here and there, Frahi said. The rest -- about 175,000 acres -- was clean.
    Not touting the Taliban in any way, but they had it nearly wiped out. Keep an eye on this, it will never be as low as what the Taliban achieved and I will bet it won't get much, if any lower that what you see now.

    Opium is not supposed to go away in A-stan, its not in the plan.

    Afghanistan, Opium and the Taliban

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  • Tarek Morgen
    replied
    even if there is no additional demand for opium based pharma products (which I rather doubt, there are more then enough countries that would need more, just can't afford it), that is not really required for it to become a successful industry in Afghanistan. All they have to do is being cheaper then the other producers like India (from where the US imports 80% of its legal Opium).

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  • S2
    replied
    Chogy Reply

    "With respect, S-2, I think Tarek has an excellent point."

    Chogy, with respect, I don't believe the market has a demand. Take it and make morphine and other opium-based products as you wish. I have no argument, sir, other than recalling that we've already all we wish from other legit sources.

    If I'm wrong and there's a global need, problem solved. It's not me that's disagreeing. It's the marketplace.

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  • Chogy
    replied
    With respect, S-2, I think Tarek has an excellent point. Legal, monitored poppy farming is done in countries like India, Tasmania (of all places) and a couple of locations in Europe, perhaps Holland. It's not just Morphine, probably more opium is used for the Thebaine it contains, which is the basis for many of the synthetic opioids like hydrocodone and such. And of course, Codeine comes straight from the opium gum as well as morphine.

    Most of us here are what I'd call free-market people. Let the market decide. If the big pharma companies decide Afghan opium is cheaper/better, then let them buy it, and let the dirt-poor Afghan farmers grow it.

    Of course the HUGE problem with this scenario is the control of the process. As it exists now, it is far too easy to siphon off metric tons of the gum, and no one is the wiser. But overall, with oversight, I think it could become a legal cash crop for a country with little else going for it.

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  • S2
    replied
    Tarek Morgen Reply

    "why destroy it? Opium is required to produce morphin."

    That's fine but I think that you'll find the market for medicinal morphine far smaller than the current world-wide illegal crop (mostly in Afghanistan). I'm almost certain that, in the end, you'll be destroying the vast portion of this year's crop.

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  • Tarek Morgen
    replied
    why destroy it? Opium is required to produce morphin. Turn the whole thing (or at least as much as possible) into an honest and legal business.

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  • S2
    replied
    Harvest Time and It's Fish Or Cut Bait

    Well, it's dope harvest time in Helmand and we seem at a loss as to what we should be doing-

    U.S. Turns A Blind Eye To Opium In Afghan Town-NYT March 21, 2010

    Personally, I don't see the problem. You buy the dope at market prices and destroy it. Simple. Opium prices have never been lower. Take advantage of it. Meanwhile you drop the good word that this is the last crop tolerated while incentivizing the locals with goodies-clinics, schools, wheat seed, agri-assistance to prep fields for legit crops, etc in the following year.

    Grandmothers growing dope on one acre plots and threatening to lay down in front of tractors can have their one acre...for a year. What you don't do is ignore Afghan law beyond reason and you get about the business of transforming the local ground.

    For that, btw, it'd be cool of the U.N. would get off their collective azzes and go do their jobs. It's not safe and nobody in their right mind has reason to expect it to be. So? Bummer for them.

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  • S2
    replied
    Chaobam Armour Reply

    "My point is that they are soldiers first and foremost and not Police."

    No. Like us, they are whatever they need to be in the "bad lands"- doctors, engineers, cops, soldiers-everything and anything in the absence of somebody better.

    Do you see any cops, courts, judges in Helmand worth acknowledging? Your guys (and ours) are the "thin red line" between civilization and chaos until we effect something better.

    In the interim, dope is also a military mission anytime the activities of such put at risk our troops. Clearly, it does.

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  • Kernow
    replied
    Never knew the mandate was led by us, learn something new everyday.

    They destroy the labs when they find them whilst out on Patrol, but they also go out and purposely look for them. My point is that they are soldiers first and foremost and not Police.

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  • S2
    replied
    Chaobam Armour Reply

    "I know the Brits are destroying Labs etc."

    That's a good thing, isn't it? Likely in the course of ops too.

    You are aware that the U.N. anti-narcotics mandate for Afghanistan is LED by the British gov't, aren't you? Nonetheless, Helmand, because of the paucity of forces until this year has single-handedly out-produced the rest of the WORLD in opium cultivation.

    Glad your boys rip up labs wherever they're found, personally.:)

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  • Kernow
    replied
    I know the Brits are destroying Labs etc.

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  • S2
    replied
    Chaobaum Armour Reply

    "My problem with this is that they are using Troops to do this..."

    To do what, exactly?

    I'm unaware of U.S. troops engaged in eradication. Are the Brits? If not, then we aren't eradicating. That, btw, is policy I believe. Prices bottoming out may be driving some of this. Troops expanding Helmand control may be a portion as well, but only because fewer farmers might be coerced into growing poppy.

    "...taking them away from the Fight against the Bunnies."

    That dovetails with the new emphasis on population security. That's the real battleground.

    Check out where increases in opium cultivation are on the rise- for the first time or continuing. Kandahar is up about 25% but the overall gain there is still modest- 5,000 hectares. Kandahar hasn't yet received the full benefit of the additional U.S. Army brigade that's heading there. Thus it's still primarily trying to be covered by the Canadian Battlegroup. Not enough guys on the ground yet.

    Think we're on the right track here. The trends say so.

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  • Kernow
    replied
    My problem with this is that they are using Troops to do this, taking them away from the Fight against the Bunnies.

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