Few people are aware of the fact that over 90% of the world’s black market opium is produced in Afghanistan. Most of that opium ends up in the international drug market and the profits are used to fund organized crime and terrorist groups like ISIS.
The Afghan dealers and manufacturers aren’t hard to find, either. They usually live in luxurious houses and own the fields that are blooming with poppy. These men brazenly sell their narcotics in broad daylight. Ironically they still manage to evade arrest.
While the poppy fields are being destroyed and drugs are being seized it’s only the middlemen who are punished, never the drug lords. There’s been a NATO military presence in the country for 14 years now but the production of heroin continues to grow.
The correspondents travel to an area in Kabul where addicts hang out by the hundreds. The police are unable to do anything about them because after each raid, the drug addicts simply return. The place has become somewhat of a local attraction; the traffic is always heavy there and pedestrians stand on the bridge just to get a look at men and boys freely getting high in an environment of total squalor. The smell is putrid and the look of emptiness and hopelessness in their eyes is heartbreaking.
Around 18% of the men who live in the capital city are addicts. The places where drugs are sold and used are well known but the police are powerless to act. Opium growers get rich by plunging fellow citizens into the depths of misery.
As soon as word gets out that there’s going to be a raid, the dealers hear of it and take the necessary precautions. They live and operate from big houses that are very protected with high fences and sophisticated security systems. Police can’t get in without a warrant. The men who are arrested during the raid usually don’t posses a big enough amount of drugs to justify imprisonment, so they are soon released.
Statistics show that opium revenues are estimated at a whopping $60 billion per year. Most of that money goes directly to drug cartels.
In 2001, after the overthrow of the Taliban, the Western coalition, and the arrival of North Americans, the opium crops were estimated to be just 180 tons. At the time this film was made, it was estimated at 6,500 tons. The difference is huge and proves that the acreage of poppy fields continues to grow each year.
What’s the future of Afghanistan going to be like if so many of the able bodied men are on drugs? Find out now.