Afghanistan's Billion Dollar Drug War

2015 ,    »  -   10 Comments
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Afghanistan's Billion Dollar Drug War

Al Jazeera's 101 East correspondent Steve Chao takes viewers to Afghanistan to investigate the country's role in the global drug industry, revealing the devastating impact it has had on Afghan citizens in particular.

Studies estimate there are some 2.9 million heroin users in Afghanistan, making it the highest per capita in the world, which makes sense considering Afghan poppy accounts for 90 percent of the world's heroin. Chao first takes viewers to the southern part of the country, which he describes as "Ground Zero" in the global war on drugs.

An entire community of drug addicts lives under a bridge in Kabul. He speaks to some of these individuals, bringing light to their situation and humanizing the people Westerners and others with First World privilege tend to look down on. One interview subject explain that, despite his general intelligence and an ability to speak four languages, an inability to find work has led him to this life of drug use and homelessness. According to him, this is the only place he is welcome.

One particularly brave woman is committed to working with this population to convince them to work through their addictions and rebuild their lives without the influence of the heroin industry. Though her work is admirable and she has the respect of many of the addicts she's attempting to help, they voice their concern that the drug dealers will someday have her killed for interfering.

Travelling next to an area known as the "badlands," Chao speaks to a poppy farmer to better understand why he would provide this crop to the Taliban and drug cartels. Citing a lack of government support, the farmer explains that while he would prefer to grow other crops, this is the only real way to maintain a livelihood by farming. Chao is later granted access to a secret government facility, where high level drug traffickers are meant to face legal consequences; however, those responsible for meting out justice are often intimidated and threatened by drug lords, making it virtually impossible to do their jobs effectively.

Afghanistan's Billion Dollar Drug War offers a stark look at the global drug trade and how the people of Afghanistan unwillingly perpetuate it while suffering the ongoing consequences of poverty and addiction.

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10 Comments / User Reviews

  1. AssHat900

    "We can win this war on drugs" OH Afghanistan police officer, you so crazy.

  2. Will

    totally managed and perpetuated by factions within the US Government (black ops)

  3. grace

    the amazing poppy

  4. Ben

    Interesting but Sadly very biased probably US made documentary purporting that its the fault of the taliban and afgan government.....but i loved the comment where it said 'forces were told not to destroy the fields....' should have been finished with 'because that would have ment less profit for the military and CIA that were exporting it'

  5. Sara

    Big pharma has poppy fields in the same region.

  6. Amy

    It's clear to me why Obama just decided amidst the conflict in Syria to deploy and retain 5000 troops in Afghanistan, even though he basically promised the U.S. would be out by the end of this year. He supports the war on drugs!!

  7. Amy

    Some things may never change.

  8. ex-military

    Not only Obama (US) supports the war on drugs Amy, but the fact that most governments including Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Russia, Middle East and Europe and others also support the war on drugs. You stop/kill drugs and millions upon millions will be w/o jobs including Farmers, DEA, and other agencies and many countries will loose billions if not trillions on this industry. Drugs (some different then others) have been in humanity for hundreds and almost thousands or years from chewing coca leafs for energy to different types of ancient drugs; and the epidemic will continue to grow. It will never leave us due to the attraction of money it brings to many.

  9. to Ben

    Are you a ***** or just very out of touch? Al Jazeera is a Qatar owned media corporation, the biggest in the middle east.

    But indeed, as some have mentioned before. The drug war industry has become so huge, that legalizing all drugs would create big problems(that are not related to drug use). It is something that needs to be done, but it can't be done overnight.

  10. catO

    Of course the Taliban completely brought this drug to its knees and almost had it eradicted. Then the US arrived and the CIA have been the pushers ever since like there own private Idaho in Columbia. The American arm in Columbia of the drug trade is staggering, and in any documentary on the drug trade there : is OFF LIMITS for cameras....But a few images are very revealing. Study the Nugan Hand bank laundering deal in Sydney that the ABC in Australia has an archive of 6 I think -public radio recordings sessions of the outcome of the Commission of Enquiry : Air America CIA drug running from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.... Bank of Hawaii was involved....you know the one that CIA officer Ann Durham (Obamas Mum) worked out of for a while.

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