Afghanistan now exports not opium, but heroin. Opium is being converted into heroin on an industrial scale, not in huts and houses but in factories. The chemicals needed for this process are shipped into Afghanistan by tanker. The tankers and bulk opium lorries on the way to the factories share the roads (improved by international aid) with NATO forces.
The principal sources of these precursor chemicals are believed to be Mexico, China, Europe, Central Asia and India. Traffickers hide the sources of their chemicals by repackaging or false labelling. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, markets and processing facilities are clustered in border areas of Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
Acetic anhydride (AA) is the most commonly used chemical agent in heroin processing. According to the DEA, Mexico is the major source of AA and authorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan routinely seize ton-quantity shipments of acetic anhydride.
A July 2008 report, carried by the Boston Globe, quotes Christina Oguz, country representative for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, saying that just 1% of these precursor chemicals are ever seized – even though these chemicals are all imported by the tanker-load, and have no ‘dual-use’ justification
It follows that there are many players with a much larger financial stake in the Afghan drug traffic than local Afghan drug lords, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. Sibel Edmonds has charged that Pakistani and Turkish intelligence, working together, utilise the resources of the international networks trafficking Afghan heroin.
Others have written about the ties between U.S. intelligence and the Turkish narco-intelligence connection. A former top-level DEA agent in the Middle East, has corroborated the CIA interest in that region’s drug connection, apparently stating that “In my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA”.
The UNODC Executive Director, Antonio Maria Costa, has reported that “money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis.”
This video, and many others like it can be used as a starting point to explore these allegations.