Friday, October 23, 2009

War of the Flowers

The Taliban are blowing up Buddhist statues, destroying Buddhist supports and scriptures every chance they get. This we know. The Taliban are also not shy about murdering any Buddhists they encounter, and indeed, will go out of their way to do so in the cruelest possible fashion. This we also know.

Where do the Taliban get the money to buy the explosives they use to blow up Buddhist antiquities?

From trafficking in opium.

This is the conclusion of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. According to the head of that organization, Antonio Maria Costa:
"The Afghanistan/Pakistan border region has turned into the world's largest free-trade zone in anything and everything that is illicit - drugs of course, but also weapons, bomb-making equipment, chemical precursors, drug money, even people and migrants. We have identified the global consequences of the Afghan opium trade. Some are devastating but expected; others seem surprising, yet they are very real. I urge the friends of Afghanistan to recognise that, to a large extent, these uncomfortable truths may be the result of benign neglect. The Taliban's direct involvement in the opium trade allows them to fund a war machine that is becoming technologically more complex and increasingly widespread." 
So, there we have it in black and white. The rampage of the demons in Uddiyana is being financed by narcotics, and the regional narcotics trade is flourishing because we are turning a blind eye.

I have heard this one before -- trotted out during the Viet-Nam era, the post Viet-Nam era, and just about any era you can name -- but, in this case, it happens to be true. There are considerable lands under cultivation, and this has been confirmed by multiple sources and methods. If anyone needs further proof, all they have to do is visit the region. Like the man says, this is the new Wild West. If you want to see something, you can go to Sagort -- the "gun village" in northern Pakistan -- and you will get an education.

Somebody needs to limber up the camera crew, and go grab some B roll that can be used to convince American politicians about interdependence. That is one shoe. While they're at it, they might want to photograph the markings on the captured munitions. That is the other shoe.

In Uddiyana, the poppies are being used to destroy the lotus.

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