The Afghanistan Papers — The Origin of the Opioid Epidemic [Remember Mike Flynn?]

“Does opium defy the laws of economics? Historically, no. In 2001, prices surged tenfold from 2000, to a record high, after the Taliban all but eliminated opium poppy cultivation across the Afghan territory under its control.”

Antonio Maria Costa —  Op-ed in the Washington Post (April 25, 2007)

“No foreign challenge has had a more direct impact on American families and communities…than the flow of opioids and other drugs into our country. That’s why the CIA is going to invest more heavily in our counter-narcotics effort abroad to combat this terrible threat, one that has killed far more Americans than any terrorist ever has.”

CIA Director Gina Haspel (September 24 2018)

“An intelligent enemy is better than a foolish friend.”

Afghan proverb

For nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. leaders have sounded a constant refrain: “We are making progress.” Government interview records obtained by The Washington Post after a three-year legal battle show otherwise. This should hardly be a surprise. Just take a good look at the Afghan opium production: 90% of the world’s heroin is made from opium grown in Afghanistan. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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CIA Director Gina Haspel — First Public Appearance (U. of Louisville, Sept. 24 2018)

In October 2017, the White House declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency.

More than two million Americans are addicted to opioids, and opioid overdoses have become the leading cause of death in America today.

For sure, the American epidemic began with prescription drugs.

However, as the rules around prescribing opioids were tightened, addicts increasingly turned to heroin (as well as synthetic opioids like Fentanyl).

And this ill-conceived war (Who are we fighting? Why? What is the goal? What is the strategy?) has made Afghanistan the biggest producer of opium in the world.

According to the US military, 90% of the world’s heroin is made from opium grown in Afghanistan.

(Of course, the DIA claims that the opium entering the US is produced in Mexico and Latin America! I keep that joke for a parody piece.)

In the US alone, this epidemic has already contributed to over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2018.

In September 2018, CIA Director, Haspel spoke at the University of Louisville. In her first public appearance, Haspel said that:

“no foreign challenge has had a more direct and devastating impact on American families and communities—including right here in Kentucky—than the flow of opioids and other drugs into our country.

That’s why CIA is going to invest more heavily in our counternarcotics effort abroad to combat this terrible threat—one that has killed far more Americans than any terrorist group ever has.”

I am very sceptical about an institution — let alone the CIA — being capable of solving a problem it created in the first place.

Think about this! Remember Mike Flynn’s attack on the CIA

Perhaps, you should remember the stance of Mike Flynn regarding the role of the CIA in Afghanistan.

Here is an old piece from the New York Times: Michael Flynn Is Harsh Judge of C.I.A.’s Role.

In January 2010, after less than a year on the job [running military intelligence under Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal in Afghanistan], Mr. Flynn released a paper, “Fixing Intel,” that was highly critical of American intelligence work in Afghanistan.

It bluntly stated that “the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy,” and said that it had only itself to blame because it had failed to understand Afghanistan’s cultural complexities.

The paper was widely praised in defense circles as insightful. But at the C.I.A., officials were furious at what they saw as a direct attack on the aptitude and professionalism of the roughly 1,000 agency personnel who were serving in Afghanistan at the time.

They were also incensed at the timing of the paper, which became public five days after a suicide attack that killed seven C.I.A. officers at a base in eastern Afghanistan. Mr. Flynn’s searing critique was seen at the agency as the height of insensitivity.

Mr. Flynn has been unapologetic about his views of not only the C.I.A. but other national security agencies, including the D.I.A. under his leadership.

“They’ve really been lying to the American public,” he said in the interview, referring to the Obama administration and much of the national security and intelligence establishment.

“The Department of Defense and those of us that have allowed this sort of a happy talk — ‘We’re moving in the right direction, things are working.’ It’s not. The Taliban are going to come back into power, or ISIS is going to come back into power.”

But Flynn was even more precise in his attacks on the CIA.  Flynn thought that the CIA was insane to work with drug lords such Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president.

Ahmed Wali Karzai was on the payroll the CIA for “a variety of services”, including the recruitment of the Kandahar Strike Force, an Afghan paramilitary force run by the CIA in the Kandahar region.

Karzai was paid for allowing the CIA and U.S. special forces to rent the former residence of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.

Well, as someone said: “If you take on the CIA, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Exclusive: A secret history of the war in Afghanistan, revealed

 

REFERENCES

Opium production in Afghanistan — Wikipedia

How the US military’s opium war in Afghanistan was lost — BBC

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The Afghanistan Papers — The Origin of the Opioid Epidemic [Remember Mike Flynn?]

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