Drugs and Afghanistan
In part three of our interview with security expert Sunil Ram, Sunil provides his answer to the hypothetical 3a.m. phone call from the new US president over what to do in Afghanistan. Sunil advocates for the replacement of the Karzai administration with a western military rule along with the open engagement in the Afghani drug economy, thus removing the financial lifeline of the warlords and the Taliban as well as providing economic stimulus to the Afghani population in a more effective way than the aid programs that are already in place. The opium could be marketed as a pharmaceutical product, as advocated by the Senlis Council, or even burned immediately, believes Sunil, but it must be taken out of the hands of the traffickers. Sunil attributes the unwillingness to pursue an active drug strategy not to a state of ignorance of the role of drug money, but rather to a combination of corruption and a general preference within the administration toward focusing on Iraq, a preference that has been present since day one.
In part two of our interview with security expert Sunil Ram, Sunil explains the complex affairs of the Pakistani military and their reliance on drug trafficking revenue. Sunil explains how this story has gone completely unreported as a result of the sheer difficulty in obtaining information on the activities of the Pakistani military-business elite. Meanwhile, NATO and the US are turning a blind eye toward the movement of drugs through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Part 2 on Tuesday While financial markets crumble worldwide, Pakistan is in the grips of a terrible economic crisis which threatens to destabilize the country. Pakistani officials have reached out to its richest allies for support, China, Saudi Arabia and the United States. All three countries, dealing with economic woes of their own, have denied this request, leaving the country to negotiate an emergency loan from the IMF. Sunil points out that the other major source of income for the Pakistani military leadership is the drug trade, a practice that is made possible by the billions in aid that the leadership receives from foreign governments every year.