How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade

By 1994, Afghanistan, according to the UN drug control program had surpassed Burma as the world’s number one supplier of raw opium.


CBS anchorman Dan Rather, claimed that the mujahedin were severely under-equipped, doing their best with Kalashnikov rifles taken from dead Soviet soldiers. In fact the mujahedin were extremely well-equipped, being the recipients of CIA-furnished weapons in the most ” “expensive covert war the Agency had ever mounted. They did carry Soviet weapons, but they came courtesy of the CIA. Rather also showed news footage that he claimed was of Soviet bombers strafing defenseless Afghan villages. This footage was staged, with the “Soviet bomber” actually a Pakistani air force plane on a training mission over northwest Pakistan. CBS claimed to have discovered in Soviet-bombed areas stuffed animals filled with Soviet explosives, designed to blow Afghan children to bits. These booby-trapped toys had in fact been manufactured by ...



One only needs to look no further than our own shores



Sixty percent of Afghanistan’s opium crop was cultivated in the Helmand Valley, with an irrigation infrastructure underwritten by US AID. Darra is a town in northwest Pakistan where the CIA had set up a factory to manufacture Soviet-style weapons that it was giving away to all Afghan comers. Much of the opium trucked into Darra from Afghanistan by the mujahedin was sold to the Pakistani governor of the northwest territory... From this opium the heroin was refined in labs in Darra, placed on Pakistani army trucks and transported to Karachi, then shipped to Europe and the United States. After the Soviet Union invaded, this wasteland swiftly acquired the status of a precious geopolitical prize. Newsweek said the “Soviet thrust” represented “a severe threat” to US interests: “Control of Afghanistan would put the Russians within 350 miles of the Arabian Sea ...




As the CIA increased its backing of the mujahedin (the CIA budget for Afghanistan finally reached $3.2 billion, the most expensive secret operation in its history) a White House member of the president’s Strategic Council on Drug Abuse, David Musto, informed the administration that: “I told the Council that we were going into Afghanistan to support the opium growers in their rebellion against the Soviets. Shouldn’t we try to pay the growers if they will eradicate their opium production? There was silence.” Why aren’t we taking a more critical look at the arms we are now shipping into gangs of drug runners who are obviously going to use them to increase the efficiency of their drug-smuggling operation?” Afghan opium production tripled between 1979 and 1982. There was evidence that by 1981 the Afghan heroin producers had captured 60 percent of the heroin market in Western Europe and the United States. In 1971, during the height of the CIA’s involvement in Laos, there were about 500,000 heroin addicts in the United States.


Since the seventeenth century opium poppies have been grown in the so-called Golden Crescent, where the highlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran all converge. By the 1950s very little opium was produced in either Afghanistan or Pakistan, with perhaps 2,500 acres in these two countries under cultivation. In August 1953, the Shah was installed by the CIA, and the oil and opium fields of Iran were once again in friendly hands. Though the US press, Dan Rather to the fore, portrayed the mujahedin as a unified force of freedom fighters, the fact (unsurprising to anyone with an inkling of Afghan history) was that the mujahedin consisted of at least seven warring factions, all battling for territory and control of the opium trade. The CIA was paying for everything regardless. The opium revenues were ending up in offshore accounts in the Habib Bank, one of Pakistan’s largest, and in the accounts of BCCI, founded by Agha Hasan Abed ... The CIA was simultaneously using BCCI for its own secret transactions Huq was also on close terms with Agha Hassan Abedi, the head of the BCCI. Abedi, Huq and Zia conferred several times with Reagan’s CIA director William Casey. Read more ...