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Bill Moore
01-09-2011, 04:39 AM
Crime and Insurgency in the Tribal Areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan (http://ctc.usma.edu/crime_and_insurgency.pdf)

Interesting paper on how organized crime has shaped the insurgency (and vice versa) in the AFG/PAK region, and one can clearly see the networks extend beyond the region defined.

Greed more than politics and hearts and minds drives much of the fighting.


Militant groups on either side of the frontier function like a broad network of criminal gangs, not just in terms of the activities in which they engage, but also in the way they are organized, how funds flow through their command chains and how they interact—and sometimes fight—with each other. There is no doubt that militant groups have capitalized on certain public grievances, yet their ties to criminal profiteering, along with the growing number of civilian casualties they cause on both sides of the frontier, have simultaneously contributed to a widening sense of anger and frustration among local communities. Through a series of focused and short anecdotal case studies, this paper aims to map out how key groups engage in criminal activity in strategic areas, track how involvement in illicit activity is deepening or changing and illustrate how insurgent and terror groups impose themselves on local communities as they spread to new territory.

Global Scout
01-10-2011, 03:33 AM
Good article, and it supports many of previous assessments.

anonamatic
01-10-2011, 10:41 AM
Thanks, this is a topic I've wanted to know more about for quite some time.

Bob's World
01-10-2011, 11:21 AM
Link didn't work for me, so not sure what is said on this point, but government officials in Afghanistan profit far more from the Poppy/Hash trade in Afghanistan than the Taliban do. It absolutely funds the insurgency, but that is chump change in a multi-billion dollar business.

This pot is so big, so lucrative, that it is woven into the entire community of Afghanistan from top to bottom, from government to insurgent. And under Taliban rule, there was far less of a problem than there is today.

As an example, Karzai's man, Juma Gul as the head of ANP in Uruzgan was a great eradicator of poppy. Destroyed much of the competitive tribe's crop, but did not touch his own tribe's fields at all. Lauded by the Dutch and the US as well, he was enriching himself, his tribe, and his patronage sponsors under the protection of the coalition; while he drove thousands deeper into their support of the Taliban.

This is far more complex and comprehensive than any of us can imagine.

slapout9
01-10-2011, 02:27 PM
This is far more complex and comprehensive than any of us can imagine.

Yep, now multiple by 10 and you have Mexico.

Bob's World
01-10-2011, 05:40 PM
This report show $10-30 Billion annually from the US to Mexico for illegal drugs
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/math.html

I have seen numbers over $65 billion estimated for the Afghan drug market.

Plus, most of the friction in Mexico is because the current government is working to control the problem (as well as the violence associated with competition between cartels). The Afghan government is not making that kind of fight.

Mexico is closer, but Afghanistan is likely much larger. Particularly as now I believe that more South American illegal drug business flows across the Atlantic and up into Europe than flows up Latin America through Mexico and into the US.

Stan
01-10-2011, 06:45 PM
In addition to the gross financial figures (300 million bucks and counting) here at Global Security (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/afghanistan/drugs-market.htm) and UNODC (http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Studies/Afghan-Drug-Survey-2009-Executive-Summary-web.pdf), the less than obvious drug use and addiction figures make the US drug market look like a walk in the park.

It's no wonder why half the fighters never see death coming :rolleyes:


By one UN estimate, the Taliban raise up to $300-million a year from the drug trade. Retail sales worldwide of Afghan heroin are said by some to be of the order of 200 billion dollars a year, but this number is surely far too high. By one account, consumer expenditure figures for Western Europe could be around $20 billion for heroin, and in the year 2001 ONDCP estimated total US consumer spending on heroin at about $12 billion. In 2005 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the total value of the global opium and heroin market to be valued at $65 billion, with about 11 million heroin users worldwide. [United Nations, ”2005 World Drug Report,” Office on Drugs and Crime, June 2005, pg. 132.]

Bill Moore
01-10-2011, 07:50 PM
http://ctc.usma.edu/crime_and_insurgency.pdf

Bob,

Sorry the link didn't work, it worked for me? I reposted it in hopes that continuing to slam my head against the brick wall will eventually move it. :D

It actually addresses much more than the drug trade, and it discusses all the topics you addressed, but what I think is the key take away is how crime and corruption have changed the nature of the conflict over time. Not unique to Afghanistan, but this is a well written paper with numerous source quotes.

Bill

Bill Moore
01-10-2011, 07:51 PM
Our aid money funds much of the corruption as noted in the paper, and many of the SWJ contributers have pointed that out in other threads.

slapout9
01-10-2011, 08:31 PM
In addition to the gross financial figures (300 million bucks and counting)

300 million:eek:that's nothing but lunch money to these guys.....serious underestimate IMO.

slapout9
01-10-2011, 08:34 PM
Mexico is closer, but Afghanistan is likely much larger. Particularly as now I believe that more South American illegal drug business flows across the Atlantic and up into Europe than flows up Latin America through Mexico and into the US.

Last night 60 minutes had a short piece on Mexico with an interesting quote by the current or former Attorney General. All of Mexico is at war with the Cartels.......and the Cartels do not follow any rules! There is a lesson there;)

Brihard
01-11-2011, 01:04 AM
Gotta quickly say, thanks for this awesome resource. I have an assignment later this semester about the strategic ramifications of the opium trade, and this fills in a side of the issue that I've not got much grounding in yet. Much appreciated!

JMA
01-11-2011, 08:21 AM
http://ctc.usma.edu/crime_and_insurgency.pdf

Bob,

Sorry the link didn't work, it worked for me? I reposted it in hopes that continuing to slam my head against the brick wall will eventually move it. :D

It actually addresses much more than the drug trade, and it discusses all the topics you addressed, but what I think is the key take away is how crime and corruption have changed the nature of the conflict over time. Not unique to Afghanistan, but this is a well written paper with numerous source quotes.

Bill

A while ago in a thread here the issue of ISAF allowing poppy growing to continue was discussed. There were few of us indeed who opposed the "poor" Afghan farmer being allowed to earn his living from growing poppies.

It is increasingly important to investigate the poppy/opium/heroin/drug policies of ISAF over the years to establish who was involved in this incompetent decision making and look into possible corruption among foreign civilian/diplomatic/military staff. Not a pleasant thought, but a necessary action IMHO.

davidbfpo
01-11-2011, 08:53 AM
Readers should be aware - Brihard's post prompted this - that there are other threads that comment / debate the issues, notably in the Afghan context. Starting way back in 2006 'Afghanistan's Drug Problem':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1234; 'Cops Show Marines How To Take On Taliban':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=10895

The author of this CTC report is Gretchen Peters, whose expertise has been challenged before in her book 'Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda'.

New SWC members may gain from sampling the author's own website: http://gretchenpeters.org/; and a critical review of her book: http://www.registan.net/index.php/20...etchen-peters/ She responds at length to this on her blogsite.

Stan
01-11-2011, 03:56 PM
300 million:eek:that's nothing but lunch money to these guys.....serious underestimate IMO.

Slap,
Sorry for any confusion with that figure in my post above. The 300 million is just what the Afghanistan drug users spend (locally) !


Overall, the survey estimates (http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Studies/Afghan-Drug-Survey-2009-Executive-Summary-web.pdf) that drug users in Afghanistan spend on
average $300 million US on their drug habit every year.

JMA
01-11-2011, 08:03 PM
AFGHANISTAN REPORT 8
Counterinsurgency in Helmand (http://www.understandingwar.org/files/Afghanistan_Report_8_web.pdf)
Jeffrey Dressler

Its funny how long it takes for some to see and understand reality.

A read of this report with specific regard to the narcotics aspect of the Helmand Operation gives one insight into a strategy and plan as poor as that of the Bay of Pigs disaster.

And just when it was thought that it was the corrupt officials who were blocking the poppy eradication efforts we read:


... the marines have also been instrumental in curbing governor Mangalís desire to greatly expand eradication efforts, as they fear this could provoke widespread alienation and discontent amongst helmandís farming populace.

The mind positively boggles...

J Wolfsberger
01-11-2011, 08:26 PM
I'll have to wait on reading the paper. Here is one immediate thought on the general topic.

Both the wind down of hostilities in Northern Ireland and the success of the Columbians against FARC led the IRA and FARC to branch out into organized crime, specifically the drug trade. Could there be a pattern here?