When something stinks, people flee from it.
With arms and materiel supplied by Russian smugglers — and now with the same captured from overrun government forces — the Taliban have been picking up all the chips left abandoned by NATO’s general withdrawal. Game over. Fold up the board. Hand it to the world’s foremost advocate for Rule by the Ruthless Rich. Whether in weeks, months, or years, the Taliban too will have cleared themselves from the field — they are destroying themselves by the hour and don’t know it — and there will remain Afghanistan, bereft of order, debased, depopulated, disillusioned, disorganized, traumatized — rather like Syria, also deeply beholden to Moscow and Tehran for all of the miseries dispensed by the Tyrant in Damascus.
There is another side to Taliban mayhem and misrule.
Call it a new plant.
KABUL—The escalating war in Afghanistan is directly linked to the multibillion-dollar global trade in illicit drugs, as the Taliban seek to expand and consolidate control over the production and trafficking of narcotics and to diversify from heroin into methamphetamine, in what an Afghan counternarcotics officer called “a coming catastrophe for the world.”
Afghan and international counternarcotics experts said violence in Afghanistan has spiked in recent years alongside increased cultivation of opium poppies, used for heroin production, and ephedra, a plant that grows wild across the country and is being used to make methamphetamine.O’Donnell, Lynne. “The Taliban Are Breaking Bad: Meth is even more profitable than heroin–and is turbocharging the insurgency.” Foreign Policy, July 19, 2021.
And you thought the Taliban were bringing Islam to Afghanistan.
As listed by Hanif Suvizada in an article in The Conversation (Dec. 8, 2020), here is how the Taliban makes its money — drugs, protection (“mining”), other extortion plus taxation, skimming from “charitable donations” to finance terrorism, export that might be legitimate if it didn’t include poppy and looted minerals.
Goodman, Ryan. “Trump Pushed CIA to Give Intelligence to Kremlin, While Taking No Action Against Russia Arming Taliban.” Just Security, July 8, 2020.
Mashal, Mujib and Michael Schwirtz. “How Russia Built a Channel to the Taliban, Once an Enemy”. The New York Times, July 13, 2020.
Noorzai, Roshan, Ezel Sahinkaya, Rahim Gul Sarwan. “Afghan Lawmakers: Russian Support to Taliban No Secret.” VOA, July 3, 2020.
O’Donnell, Lynne. “The Taliban Are Breaking Bad: Meth is even more profitable than heroin–and is turbocharging the insurgency.” Foreign Policy, July 19, 2021.
Reuters. “Russia says boosts arms supplies to Central Asia amid Afghan conflict.” August 5, 2021. Open query: with corruption practically a given worldwide, what part will make it to the Taliban?
Ross, Jamie. “Trump Appears to Defend Russia Arming the Taliban Against U.S. Troops.” Daily Beast, July 29, 2020 .
Rowlatt, Justin. “Russia ‘arming the Afghan Taliban’, says US.” BBC News, March 23, 2018.
Savage, Charlie, Eric Schmitt, Michael Schwirtz. Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.” The New York Times, July 29, 2020.
Sufizada, Hanif. “The Taliban are megarich — here’s where they get the money they use to wage war in Afghanistan.” The Conversation, December 8, 2020.