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Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield an alleged heroin hotbed

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While there may be some possibility of this happening, I can't see it being as rampant as the author describes....but he brings Canada into it and has found a Canadian voice in “It doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s the way things are there,” Sean Maloney, associate professor of history at the Royal Military College, said by phone from Kingston, Ontario.

Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield an alleged heroin hotbed
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By Alex Roslin and Shaun McCanna, December 29, 2011

Toor Jan was clearly nervous when he arrived at the guesthouse in Kandahar, Afghanistan. “If my boss found out I did this, he will shoot me,” the young heroin dealer told the Georgia Straight in an interview.

Toor Jan (not his real name) described last March how he sold large amounts of heroin to Afghan translators working at two NATO bases in Kandahar who, in turn, resold the heroin to NATO soldiers.

Toor Jan said he and his partner were selling from 270 grams to one kilogram of heroin weekly to the translators working at Kandahar Airfield—until recently headquarters of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan—and at Kandahar City’s Camp Nathan Smith, former home of the Canadian provincial reconstruction team.

It’s enough to get 2,700 to 10,000 users high. The street value in Vancouver would be $54,000 to $200,000.

It works out to about 14 to 52 kilograms annually, worth up to approximately $10.4 million. (Toor Jan said his boss employs two other teams of dealers who sell similar amounts of heroin to translators at the NATO bases.) In comparison, Canadian police seize only about 70 kilos of heroin in an average year in all of Canada.

Toor Jan said he had heard that some foreign contractors also buy heroin and are involved in smuggling it through Kandahar’s airport but that they “normally deal with other people, not with small guys like us”.

A Kandahar district official who has extensive knowledge of the heroin trade also said some foreign contractors and NATO military personnel are involved in trafficking heroin by plane to North America out of Afghan airports that are under NATO control.

“They have Afghan people who go through the process and purchase the drugs for them. Once it is acquired, they bring it to them, and they smuggle it to North America,” the official said in an interview in a Kandahar guesthouse. “They use the airports.”

(It is Georgia Straight policy to include anonymous sources in stories only in exceptional circumstances, such as when sources’ safety or employment could be jeopardized if their names were revealed. Wherever possible, their identities are confirmed with editors, and—to the extent possible—the Straight corroborates their information with named sources.)

The accounts give a rare glimpse into how some NATO personnel and contractors seem to have gotten ensnared in Afghanistan’s multibillion-dollar narco economy, which supplies 90 percent of the world’s opium, the raw ingredient of heroin.

Canada and other NATO powers have long been accused of turning a blind eye to a 15-fold increase in Afghan opium production since 2001 (according to UN figures) and cozying up to Afghan warlords and officials reputed to be involved with drugs.

But these new accounts suggest NATO’s presence helps fuel the gigantic Afghan drug trade.

The accounts are reminiscent of the Vietnam War, when U.S. forces befriended opium-dealing warlords in Southeast Asia and many U.S. soldiers became addicted to heroin, with some smuggling it back home.

A Canadian military historian said the notion that NATO soldiers are buying heroin in Afghanistan and smuggling it out is “completely plausible”.
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At one level,

Geographic crossroads + loads o' foreign troops + available supply of distractions (chemical and otherwise) = increase in illicit movement/marketing of said distractions

is an equation that's been repeated more than once over the history of warfare - methinks even this guy
alexander-the-great.jpg

was also wrestling with the same issues in his time.

I note, as usual, that the broad-strokes allegation is right up there in the lead, with the "if it was happening with our folks, we'd be jumping on it" counterpoint well buried way later int he piece.
 
The Georgia Straight is a left leaning free to take local Vancouver "newspaper".

They have in the past published an article/op ed piece on How we should not celebrate Remembrance Day as it glorifies war.
 
The terps couldn't smuggle a picture of Justin Timberlake into or out of KAF without security catching it.
They would also make 'Survivor' proud at how fast they would turn on and report one of their fellow translators for any sort of wrong doing(after all it meant their seniority went up).
 
Grimaldus said:
The terps couldn't smuggle a picture of Justin Timberlake into or out of KAF without security catching it.
They would also make 'Survivor' proud at how fast they would turn on and report one of their fellow translators for any sort of wrong doing(after all it meant their seniority went up).

After working with them the whole of my last tour, you're bang on.
 
NinerSix said:
The Georgia Straight is a left leaning free to take local Vancouver "newspaper".

You're a lot kinder than I was going to be.
 
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