Afghanistan: Drugs, Guns and Money

2002, Drugs  -   31 Comments
Ratings: 7.00/10 from 6 users.

Afghanistan: Drugs, Guns and MoneyNarrated by Colin Friels and produced by Chris Hilton, Afghanistan: Drugs, Guns and Money asks these difficult questions by following the journey of this years opium crops, tracing the drug trafficking routes heading north from Afghanistan through the nations of the Old Silk Road on its way to Europe.

The film examines who are the winners and losers as the crop finds its way to market. The awesome beauty of the landscape provides a powerful backdrop for the treachery uncovered each step of the way.

Like a cancer, the heroin trade has spread its tentacles through almost every level of society. In Afghanistan there is mass local addiction, local HIV epidemics, an unending cycle of violence and crime, and the corruption of state institutions.

With the war on terror raging, the war on drugs has slipped down the priority list of the current US administration. But, in the crucial frontline states of Central Asia, these two wars are inextricably linked... a fact all too often ignored.

The business is booming. Afghanistan and its near neighbors still supply around 80 per cent of the heroin sold in Western Europe. Yesterday's drug lords are today's cabinet ministers. How much of a problem is it for America (and the West) that many of its newest allies are implicated in one of the most lucrative drug routes in the world?

More great documentaries

31 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Sorsha

    ... should read UN equates ... ...

  2. Sorsha

    A few minutes in and an interview with a member of the UN. enough said. Us equates to US/UK/Israel to my mind.

  3. ecstasy addiction treatment

    I just think that the governments ruin random peoples lives for being part of the web that
    the government created. just hypocrisy, corruption, and lies lies lies.
    all we can do is educate. everyone needs to teach those around them,
    the problem is so many people are blind, and still believe what they
    were taught in school that drugs are bad and that if you do drugs you
    are a danger to yourself and everyone aroudn you, but look at how many
    very very product members of soceity smoke marijuana, a class 1 narcotic

  4. Arthur Stordahl

    Oh yes, the UN is IMOl part of operations as well.

  5. Arthur Stordahl

    "Rumours circulate that the CIA, far from helping to protect the West from drugs in the region are actually running their own private little drugs oprations to supplement their retirement pensions"

    I have garnered the same opinion from many different sources w/exception to the supplementing retirements~this I have never heard, it is many hundreds of billions. Running opie to final product labs with the best of cheemical suppliers and chemist it is much more functional and, of course profitable. Are we simply giving all this $ to those who we consider potential terrorists? I don't think so, but then again the very same ppl are on the payroll and usefull in many areas of our current "projects"

  6. Space_Cadet_1952

    What people don't appreciate about this documentary is that it is 10 years old and in those 10 intervening years the problem has got worse instead of better. Rumours circulate that the CIA, far from helping to protect the West from drugs in the region are actually running their own private little drugs oprations to supplement their retirement pensions.

    When we think of the thousands of people who have died in the region, civilians and military, with the drugs still flowing, it makes you wonder if any power is serious about improving the situation, rather than barely containing it, with the billions spent on the 'military solution'.

    It cost America $20million to kill one Vietcong, which would have built 10 factories and a supporting infrastructure..! Or stocked 200 farms.

    With a region average of 50% unemployment and those working merely existing in poverty incomes it is hardly surprising that, coupled with militant Islam, the region is a rich breeding ground for terrorism.

    As was pointed out by the young university student of English, if you take away peoples reason for living it is hardly surprising that they behave like mindless zombies. Unemployment and drugs produce zombies, worldwide.

  7. aristidh koka

    in my country we are all food addict, or food dependent i tell you to experiment this type of addiction allso in yours countrys.allso i congraculate the opinion of PHILIP VAN DER MUDE
    his right. the god in the tend was the chief of secrete services of anciet egypt MOSE was adicted to heroine like all the isrelians who followed them. because only a mass of addicted persons will follow a renegade in the desert. for this reason the god dont give the promissed land to them but to their children. if him gave to them they will start to grow poppy not olives. im from albania we are not muslim not christians we dont bellive god.
    we belive and adore and admire only who give us food.

  8. George Orwell

    Decriminalize all drugs & eliminate the black market. No more Prisoners, no more crime! Cept then people will get along and be happy & wont be no need for corporate law's & big government. Not good for the facist regime we have in control now.
    If only your average person could see how much money they would save a year in tax from ending the war on drugs & what a positive effect it would have on the community.
    Its our choice, Police state or true freedom?

  9. silversky

    Have a good day, no matter what they say!

  10. John

    Ask yourself what GOD is to the World Bankers... The answer:Gold Oil and Drugs. Period.





  12. tony the tiger

    the west is the one growing it. as so many have already said here. its obvious and as you can see by the video the ones who suffer are the poor, from all the countries. from afghanistan to the US, its always the poor that get wrapped in the drugs and suffer from them, then just to act like they are doing something the governments ruin random peoples lives for being part of the web that the government created. just hypocrisy, corruption, and lies lies lies. all we can do is educate. everyone needs to teach those around them, the problem is so many people are blind, and still believe what they were taught in school that drugs are bad and that if you do drugs you are a danger to yourself and everyone aroudn you, but look at how many very very product members of soceity smoke marijuana, a class 1 narcotic( which is a f***ing joke.) everyone needs to educate the ignorant so peopel no longer hear about the boogie man from the government officials, who actually are the boogie men.

  13. facile

    @Eli, heroin isn't a Western Euro /Amecrian addiction, , there are more heroin addictis in China, Packastain and India than the West. Its just the big money comes from the West)))

  14. logic

    this documentary is well balanced.. Honestly i dont know what they are going to do, as long as people dont even have food they will grow these crops.. and if developed countires pouring in billions still cant stop the trade do these central asian countries have a chance? and other than that why does everyone this everything on radical Islam???

    It would really be funny if a couple of people took pictures of the KKK.. sent the to the arab world and said look this is America.. because thats exactly what these people are doing


  15. Pacha

    good to see you have a nice balanced world view rickie

  16. rickie

    its good to see in some country they just lock up people for being islamic

    wish every country did it, the hole faith is evil and wrong.

  17. Eli

    talk about propaganda--remote caves where they make heroin!!!--show me is what I say. Heroin is a Western Euro-American addiction and is typically cooked in those countries.

  18. Edwardo Rios

    With our own current problem of heroin coming from mexico into the U.S. I cannot comment on addiction , but people need jobs to sustain themselves and their families to have any sense of self worth. These people in these former soviet
    republics are hurting for jobs and until they are created the problem will continue and get worse.

  19. Sam


    Thanks for your post and personal testimony, I am proud of you for overcoming your addiction, you must have a strong character. You make some really good points as well, and I agree with you 100 percent. It is a war on personal liberty and ownership of ones body, does not our constitution protect freedom of religion as an inalienable right? We humans have used these substances in religious ceremony, rites of passage,medicine and for recreation and practice for thousands of years it's only in the last 40 years we have demonized and prosecuted a substance. Lets keep our people safe and provide them safe access to drugs and treatment, lets not throw them away like trash, we have more people per capita in prison right now than did Stalinist Russia, are we gonna continue our hippocrasy on account of non scientific based data and religilous propaganda?

  20. entropy

    As a former heroin addict I can say with certainty that the only way to control drug use and curtail crime is to provide physically dependent addicts with a dependable, pure supply of the drug AND universal availability of free detox/rehabilitation for addicts who have decided they are READY to quit.

    You can lock an addict up for a few months and forcefully detox them, but if they are still psychologically dependent they will use again as SOON as possible. I've never been in jail, but I've seen this among friends who were addicted and consequently jailed. Many who relapse after a long term of abstinence will overdose and die or end up in the hospital because they overestimate their tolerance and mistakenly take a dose that is toxic. Drug addicts generally do not have insurance, so the drug addict goes into debt for hospital bills that they can not afford which makes it much harder for the addict to find work or get a line of credit once rehabilitated. The hospital will write off the losses as tax reductions/credits which they tax payers ultimately pay for.

    The health problems associated with drug use arise from improper production of the drug, impurities, diluting agents, and cuts added by distributors used to increase profit on the black market. The drug lords don't want to kill their customers, they want to give them just enough drug to keep them in bondage while making as much profit as possible. While they don't want to kill their customers per se, they aren't overly concerned with the overall health of their customers, so it's common to find cuts like shoe polish, bicarbonate of soda, talc, etc. as the main constituent of heroin as a "street drug."

    Afghanistan holds little, if any, percentage of the drug market in the USA. Afghanistan is the main heroin supplier of Europe and the UK. The main sources of heroin in the USA come from Columbia and Mexico. Columbian heroin, which I was addicted to, is "high quality" powder heroin. Mexican heroin is basically an acetylated form of refined opium, tar-like and prone to harbor bacteria.

    Opiates, specifically heroin, give the user/addict extremely pleasurable feelings. Junkies lose the ability to feel any kind of positive emotion unless they have the drug in their system. A person has to be READY to quit, ready to deal with the withdrawal, ready to give up the intense feelings of pleasure, in order to successfully stop using.

    When you get down to the core issue of drug addiction as it relates to the human being, we are ALL drug addicts in a desperate scramble for the next fix. Whether one gets their fix from injecting heroin or they get their fix from having sex with their lover after having a delicious dinner, they are chasing the same biochemical release of dopamine and endorphins that hard drugs like heroin imitate. The War on Drugs isn't a "War on Drugs", it's a war on personal liberty and a war on one's ownership of their body.


    100 BILLION $$$ in just 1 year , sounds like reason for maintaining the confuse and conquering ,,instabkity . The more unstable the population the asier it is to control the average person thru created fear of their very nieghbors themselves . What we think is visible logic is just hat VISIBLE and the evdence of that visisblity and learning of hisotry shows the deep manipulation of a PYSHCOPATHIC few , who created religon in it's own image and now works thru Business and Goverment systems.

    support the people by getting the dependance on $$$ of any form out and the return to local / home / family life real pleasures of love laughter food musics and laughing children . The sunrises and sets and so does the instinctual clock of the homind animal .

    but demand in the WEST and other growing slave econimies who population find escape in ..drugs .... support THEM support ourselves to break free of the confuse and conquer ..Eygpts preiest taught young mother to cover the tits with Opium addicting the next generation of children ... The opium eaters , the governing class has used the confusion to amnipulate us for 5000 years .

    forget todays symptoms and realize the history .

    again the Taliban eventually got rid of the poisin that itself may have used ONCE to fund itself , but ... IT DID GET RID OF IT ! until we showed up !

  22. Sam

    Sorry to the Amish I forgot, you probably get it pretty bad with those beards and all.

  23. Sam

    It seems like everyone so far that has commented, has the same gripes. I am glad to see that it has become so obvious where and what the real problems are, for the first time this seems to be something all of us agree on. So my question is what are we gonna do about it? Just blog and complain? If you think this drug war doesn't effect you think again, think about all the ways the world has changed since 9-11. Think about how those attacks were paid for, think about what personal freedoms we gave away with the Patriot Act and what a pain in the ass it is to travel anywhere now. Think about the fear and all the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan. The "WAR ON TERROR" It all stems from this illegal drug trade that would be decimated if not obliterated by a radical move to legalize and regulate. If you say your not affected your either amish or lying.

  24. Sam

    I love the comment by the former CIA agent that said in effect "we are doing nothing to help, we deliberately encourage the destabilization of the region to ensure the support for building more U.S. bases there" So it's job security or it means that the CIA is back in the Drug business again? maybe that means they never left it? I think it's funny we have a so called war on drugs and yet U.S. Troops guard poppy fields and commonly patrol right through them. If you wanna stop the terrorist funding, just end the drug war. Legalize and regulate drugs just like alcohol and tobacco, tax revenues increase, abuse decreases as they loose their cool and mystique. Our streets become safer with dealers out of the equation and users overdose less as drugs become regulated and manufacture's impose strict quality control. We also wipe out an entire economy that supports only the criminal element, cut terrorist funding in half and save tax payers billions of dollars in the prosecution and detainment of end users, who are not criminals for simple possesion of a plant that grows outa the earth any more than all of us who drink a starbucks or pop a zanex when we are feeling down. Lets look back on what ending the prohibition on alcohol did to the mob, it crippled them severely until drugs became illegal then they prospered again. Lets stop the trivial U.N inspection teams with a media cadre, what a waste of money and brain cells. The only good thing that came out of it was a half assed story about Afghani Opium, the real story is the drug war itself and the moral crusade to keep everyone misinformed while governments and organised crime rake in trillions and big pharma monopolizes and patents every pschoactive chemical known to man so they can sell it back to you legally. Wake UP! You wanna help those farmers, don't send a UN inspection team, send them food crop seeds, build them schools, hospitals and teach that next generation the skills needed to sustain and feed themselves, while simultaneously recognizing hard drug users as a social problem and not a criminal one and move to legalize and regulate all drugs. There are people in this country doing hard time in prison for smoking a plant that humans have used for 10,000 years with no problem, at the same time HIV rates are soaring, drug related crimes are higher now than ever, we have mexican mafia growing pot in our national forests, meth is an epidemic and has over run the midwest and southwestern states, when are we gonna learn? This is what terrorists count on, is our stupidity to do the same things over and over expecting new results. The drug war failed it's time to bail! Legalize and regulate. Lets take our power back, lets put responsible use in our hands and not let some paid off politicians dictate to us their morality. Especially since their morality cost some big pharma corp, corporate prison system or arms dealers millions of dollars to perpetrate.

  25. silkop

    Give help to people in Afghanistan, so that they stop growing poppies... But how? As it seems, the help which is given is diverted to the bosses that actually organize and support drug trafficking and their corrupt friends on American/Russian/whatever side. So it might as well be help to purchase better arms and become more independent poppy growers.

    The real solution would be: don't buy their drugs, make it unprofitable for the dealers abroad to engage in trafficking. Fix the problem in our own countries, not in Afghanistan.

  26. Pacha

    Incredible isn't it. People pay taxes to fund armies and to fight the big old nasty drug war, while the authorities tell you they need billions to go look for a guy in a cave, killing thousands of innocent men women and children on the way, while all the time growing the opium which is creating the drug problem.

  27. lallu

    The Taleban as we all know are from the Pashtun tribe. The Pashtuns are mostly based in the southern half of Afghanistan which is mostly desert. The fertile farm-lands are mostly in the northern half of Afghanistan. There is hardly any fighting in the northern half of Afghanistan because there are no Talebans there. North is controlled by allied forces and the afghan war lords like Rashid Dostum. Opium exports from Afghanistan has increased exponentially since the US led occupation of Afghanistan. Now, anyone who can conclude that 2+2=4 then I am quite sure that they will also be able to conclude that this war on terror is just a front to make some money from drugs, oil, and gold.

  28. mj

    it is a fact that after the taliban kept a check on the opium trade and the year the American came in the opium trade increase by much so that the price of opium was so cheap that countries in Europe were worried...

  29. Alex

    wall street owns the opium in afganistan !!!

  30. aussie

    this doco provides a overall perspective but doesn't really dig under the surface.

  31. nameless

    Support the people in Afghanistan is all I say, so that they don't have to resort to grow poppies.