A contingent of 100 US troops has been sent to Lashkar Gah in Afghanistan, the capitol of Helmand province.
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) August 22, 2016
Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland said the soldiers were deployed to provide training and support to Afghan forces fighting the Taliban.
“Around 80 percent of the province is under the control of the insurgents. There are a number of districts that the government claims are under their control, but the government is only present in the district administrative center and all around are under the control of the insurgents,” Kareem Atal, the head of Helmand’s provincial council, told the Associated Press.
The AP notes Helmand’s annual $3 billion opium crop produces most of the world’s heroin.
The news organization also claims the money is “used to fund the insurgency.”
The Taliban outlawed the cultivation of opium in 2001.
Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now in 2014 all levels of Afghan society are involved in the opium trade. Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium.
“Aikins accused both the Taliban and government-linked officials of profiting from the crisis. He claimed the U.S., in its quest for vengeance against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, not only cooperated with warlords but ignored corruption by criminals whose human rights abuses created the conditions that led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place,” writes Michaela Whitton.
In 2009 it was reported that the CIA controlled the opium trade in Afghanistan through Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the former president, Hamid Karzai, who began his career as a fundraiser for the CIA’s mujahideen during the 1980s.
“CIA-supported Mujahideen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society,” William Blum writes in The Real Drug Lords.
“The Golden Crescent drug trade, launched by the CIA in the early 1980s, continues to be protected by US intelligence, in liaison with NATO occupation forces and the British military. In recent developments, British occupation forces have promoted opium cultivation through paid radio advertisements,” Michel Chossudovsky wrote in 2007.
The corporate media, however, has portrayed the Taliban as the source of opium cultivation in the country. Prior to the U.S. invasion of the country, the Taliban were instrumental in outlawing the opium trade, according to the United Nations.
Earlier this month a retired CIA agent recently convicted of possession of child pornography accused the US of trying to frame him. He announced he was about to release a book that will “blow the lid off the CIA’s drug smuggling operations in Afghanistan” the Cheyenne Herald reported, according to Activist Post.