Tuesday, February 03, 2009
AN AFGHAN SURGE BY OBAMA/ An Indian view of Opium trade.
As America is retreating( so called surge is basically asking for fig leaf before the exit as in Iraq) , there is tremendous amount of churning going on in Afghanistan. This was evident to everyone for sometime .When PresidentKarzai desperately wanted Mullah Omar to accept his offer of safe passage was the first sign and also when Saudis hosted the conference in Mecca. Why such importance to this tiny country whose people live in caves mostly.TheJihadies have already gone into the caves of Wazirstan .Then Why? It is the poppy and heroin trade which has come back into life after the NATO forces took over the country from Taliban. Taliban who not only enforced Sharia but also other stringent Islamic conditions on the people ensured that poppy was not cultivated at all.Though this infuriated the ordinary Afghans they enforced it ruthlessly.This also ensured the vanquishing of Drug Mafia run by Drug lords like GeneralDostum,Ishmeil Khan etc etc.When ISAF took over, it opened the flood gates of Freedom of media,personal liberty but also to grow poppy.Initially it ensured the ordinary Afghans were happy with money which came from this trade .TheISI through TALIBAN also did not abolish this trade but used it to subvert the central rule of Karzai who was once an ISI asset.
US winked at this as long it was supporting Pakistani army and ISI but not affecting its global interest in Pain killers market in Europe.But ISI is no fool as can be seen by its reach in subverting Indian police and NCB officials and pushing high grade Heroin into India.It thinks subverting Indian elite through heroin and other poppy drugs is as effective as terrorist attack against India.As the global prices for Heroin crash in European market, CIA is waking up to face the challenge of protecting its market in Europe and USA.
One must know Iran/contra scandal and how drug money played an important point of that scandal or operation by Oliver North of CIA.
Again General Noreiga and his connection to CIA and drug cartels is something everyone knows.
But the connection between ISI and CIA through drug money is not much known as it is intricately linked to jihadi terrorism which gets more media space.The question is ISI CANNOT SURVIVE AS AN INSTITUTION WITHOUT THIS OXYGEN from DRUG TRADE.
Every one knows about poppy cultivation and how it is used in producing Opium and its illegal derivatives Heroin and Cocaine.But few know about CODEINE AND MORPHINE the legal pain killers are also made from opium.Legal pain killers are consumed by only SIX countries in Europe.The market is of course controlled by genuine Drug manufacturers. But the cost is linked to illegal opium production as very few countries produce legit opium. Turkey and India are some of the leading legit producers.
The cost of production also is a factor.
1 Kg of Morphine is produced for $ 56 in Australia
1 Kg of Morphine is produced for $160 in India
1 Kg of Morphine is produced for $ 450/- in Afghanistan.
The precursor chemicals like Ascetic an-hydride and others and their smuggling also are a factor in this trade.
Again HAWALA in Afghanistan is controlled by poppy induced illegal money. One finds the hawala centers are the same which also produce illegal opium. Helmand is the Hqtrs of both Illegal opium and hawala trade.The drug and hawala route are also same.
1.Helmand- Pakistan- Iran
3.Faizabad(Badsha Khan province-Tajikistan-Pakistan-China.
93% of World's Illegal opium is grown in Afghanistan.Out of which 70% is grown in Helmand.Again a small border town in Helmand bordering Pakistan called Baramcha is the focal point of all the illegal trade in opium and Hawala.The world's intelligence agencies have their meeting point in this small but prosperous town.
The total economy of Afghanistan is 7.8 Billion US dollars. While illegal opium trade is more than 5 Billion US dollars!!!Now one can understand how important is drug trade is to Afghanistan and also to Jihadies and also to ISI.
TALIBAN just impose a small 10% of tax on opium produced in areas which they control and one can easily imagine the money they control and why Pakistan is crying hoarse about the recent drone attacks. When one sees that Pakistan as a nation got only 4.5 billion US dollars from IMF, the money which Taliban/ISI axis are controlling in Afghanistan is mind blogging. But USA must be aware of this and allowed it. UK is in contrary policy option is due to their posting inHelmand where 2 para of UK just provide security to poppy crops of Afghan farmers for some consideration must be.!!!UK is the nation which indulged in opium war with China during 18th century.It knows how to make profit in every situation. UK is growing recently poppy at DIDCOT county in UK. Macfarlan Smith a pharma company is given the license to produce the poppy. Of course our foreign policy mandarins knew anything about this poppy /pharma connection in UK is antibody's guess because they were surprised at Millibands outburst. Canada is another country which is facing the problem of seduction of Drug money on its soldiers and CONTRACTORS like Compass Integrated Security solutions who are even blamed for death of a Canadian soldier.
Taliban are able to completely ignore or reduce taxes on non/opium trade in the area they control as long as one pays 10% tax on the opium produced and thereby winning the hearts and minds of ordinary farmers. So a reduction in cultivation will force them to increase the non/poppy tax base. Increase in opium production is a sort of vested interest created in Taliban by US andISI through their drug lords. But Taliban have been very clever .They have built a significant buffer stock of the crop and so any reduction in cultivated area will only add to the price increase , which they can exploit.
Saudi funding for insurgency has significantly reduced to TALIBAN who have no ISI connection.So it is Drug money which is actually fuelling the insurgency and economy of Afghanistan and also FATA/WAZIRSTAN.Then what is the game plan of
Obama administration in inviting the following for his inauguration.
1.Gul Agha Sherzai
2.Dr.Ashraff Ghani Ahmedzai
3.Ali Ahmed Jalali
4.Abudullah Abdullah, ex foreign minister from northern alliance.
He is trying to do what President Reagan did by inviting Gulbudin Heketmayer to his ranch even though he was known as the warlord who threw acid on faces of Kabul university girls.Why he is trying to replaceKarzai with one of these war lords? These guys are not angels.The reason is DRUG TRADE AND DRUG MONEY which made even Zilmay Khalizad (ex American Ambassador to UN) salivating for the job.
What India should look for in this scenario?
1.India must look at the surge of US forces and its deployment.Whether it is trying to stop the poppy cultivation or trying to act as a protector of Afghan farmers doing the cultivation?
2.Whether any effort is being made to stop the 10% tax which Taliban are imposing on behalf of ISI?
3. What type of new war lords are being created and what are they being asked to do?
4.Whether Drone attacks are being stopped inside Pakistan as demanded by Pakistan and Turkey.
5.Whether HAWALA is being routed through Peshawar or through Herat?
6.What happens to GITMO detainees ( who were actually drug lords caught during the 2001 war)who are going
to be released?
7.NATO forces are supposed to thin during 2011 .Who is allowed to take over in HELMAND in the guise of a criminal war lord(not Jihadi!!!) will be the significant pointers for Indian policy.If this guy is going to be a Saudi/ISI guy then India has to be wary of USA.
8.What role Turkey is going to play in the scheme of things will also be pointer to geopolitical landscape in future.TURKEY'S full solidarity and support for PAKISTAN'S sovereignty,political independence,and territorial
integrity is known.Indian foreign policy mandarins must look at turkey's idea of Pakistan's territory.(http://www.mfa.gov.tr/pakistan---turkey-joint-statement_-ankara_-october-27-31_-2008.en
Here is major NATO MEMBER where NATO IS functioning in Afghanistan (who is not a member of NATO) WHO HAS NOT RECOGNIZED DURRAND LINE ,which is its border with Pakistan(MAJOR non/NATO ally of USA) is being given the security cover by a NATO MEMBER.I do not know what is the take of Indian foreign policy Mandarins on this issue.What is the policy of Turkey on the border between Indian and Pakistan? The recent spat betweenErdogan and Peres of Israel is one of an issue or it is Turkey effort to gain the leadership of Islamic world though it recognises Israel may be with a wink from USA.
9.The effort by ISI to rekindle KHALISTAN AGENDA among the Sikh Diaspora especially in Canada has to be watched closely.The drug money
can win any one and white Canadian politicians are no exceptions. India knows how Canadian royal Mounted police handled its Sikh assets
even though they killed nearly 400 innocent Indians through mid air bombing of Air India jet.The ex/ISI boss Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir who is controlling 150 Sikh gurudwarahs in Pakistan through PGPC is known for his suaveness with regard to use of Drug money.He violently opposed Benazir's distaste for fomenting Sikh extremism in India through ISYF( Lakhbir Rode),Wadhawan Neeta(Khalistan Zindabad force),P.S.Panjwar(KCF),Gajinder Singh(Dal Khalsa).All these guys especially Rode is being given leadership role for recruiting Sikhs in India through its agents or by reignitingAnandapur Saheb resolution through remnants of Bhindranwale's followers who are in legit mode in various political parties of Punjab.
10.The biggest threat is how this drug money is being used by Pakistan's ISI to undermine INDIAN ECONOMY which it feels is the real reason for world taking note of India.This also will suits CHINA which is not at all happy at the rejuvenation of Indian psyche after the drubbing it gave in 1962.
a)Printing and distributing fake Indian currency notes through D/COMPANY, Sikh's ISYF,HUJI(Bangladesh) along with Indian LET,JEM operatives in KERALA AND HYDERABAD.The recruitment for training of these operatives are done in Saudi Arabia,UAE etc where normally most of these expatriates work.Missing youths from these areas should be an area of prime concern for Indian security agencies.
b)Disrupting INDIAN TOURISM. Mumbai attack can be also seen as a sort of disruption of Indian tourism industry along with those attacks in Jaipur,Bangalore and attempted ones in Goa.
c)Disrupting Indian Cricket especially the IPL being a money spinner for Indian Economy.
d)Along with Satyam, the Indian money bags can be vulnerable to BLACKMAIL. There is an email circulating about Swiss bank accounts of Indian Big cats and how Swiss authorities are willing to divulge the names if asked for by Indian Government.
As General Hamid Gul commented in a recent blog about RAW. It is 24/7 war with Indian Intelligence and he is proud of his ISI waging it successfully. The bombing of Indian embassy in Kabul may be an attack on those honest middle level intelligence operatives by ISI though it may look like a terrorist act. I understand the black market rate for obtaining an Indian visa from our Kabul embassy is 300 US dollars for single day clearance while it is 200 US dollars for clearance in 4 days.This is a hefty amount for ordinary Afghans who have to travel to India for MEDICAL HELP as in this one area none can beat India in the quality of health care for the money paid. But Indian staff have to be paid well enough so that they donot indulge in petty corruption. India also should think of opening a lady Gynaecology hospital meant only for ladies in Kandahar instead of building roads which serves the interest of ISAF.