The Taliban is a terrorist Islamist group with militia views, primarily based in Afghanistan and it is led by Mullah Omar. The Taliban is an internationally recognized terrorist group, linked with terrorist activities and their supports of terror acts it has committed against humanity.
The Taliban has also been known to attack groups that are against Afghanistan and also responsible for the loss of many lives in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world. Their dominance in Afghanistan has been overwhelming for the government to an extent that they take control of a given portion of the country.
The poppy rich fields that are used to plant opium are found in South and Southwest of Afghanistan. The Taliban group makes a lot of money from the trade of opium, and they use the money to fund both domestic and international terrorism. The drug trade has been thriving for a long time which is believed to contribute to the high level of corruption and threat of terrorism for the Afghan nationals.
The Taliban’s are merciless to citizens that might try to hinder the group’s operations. Drug trade is one of the major sources of finances for this group and they need the money to accomplish their strategic goals which include targeting of the US interests and other local groups in Afghan that might be rivals of the Taliban. The groups targeted are those bringing oppression and taxes to the locals.
This paper looks at how drugs influence the current funding of domestic terrorism and the obstacles encountered by the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) troops in their ongoing war on terrorism and drugs. Also, the paper looks at the ways in which the drugs affect the local population from acts of domestic terrorism. In addition, the paper covers locations of drug farms in Pakistan tribal grounds where the Pakistan and the US Forces cannot enter due to the agreement of the US forces made with the tribal leaders.
The drug war in Afghanistan has been going on for a long time and had negative effects in Afghanistan. This has led to corruption in the government and in the police force making the region politically and economically destabilized due to the exchange of money making the government lose a lot. This can be illustrated by families contributing money in order to stay in political positions in government making them have control of the drug trade in the region (Qassem, 2009).
The poppy trade has led to the development of activities mainly controlled by the Taliban, because they have the money to fund all the operations in various parts of the world. Rollins (2010) suggests that the Taliban initially depended on donations from sympathizers’ and collections from innocent locals to fund their activities before turning to other methods like drug selling and asking for ransoms for kidnappings.
Most of the individuals in Afghanistan have felt the negative effects of the drug trade perpetuated by the Taliban and other terror groups especially those found on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Over the last three decades, the NATO has been making various strategies to end the war and the drug business in Afghanistan because of the negative activities that the Taliban carries out not only in Afghan but also in other parts of the world (Weinberg, Pefahzur & Perliger, 2009).
In 2001, the United States initiated an attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. Most of the Taliban leaders were local village leaders who have a lot of influence on the locals. The drug networks that are in Afghanistan run deep into the villages and the money from the trade flows up the chain of commands to the highest individuals in power (Barfield, 2010).
Even though most of the drug lords are known, the local people are afraid of giving information against them because they are afraid of the consequences they might individually face or expose their loved ones to.
Most of the Afghan people have had their lives changed by the effects of the drug trade as the greedy individuals that control the drug trade are merciless in their endeavors towards maximization of the profits (Siegel, 2009).
The Taliban terrorist group is supported by the locals due to the injustices it does to them. The group is especially unpopular in the South and South west regions of Afghanistan. Individuals who have been oppressed through the actions of the Taliban seem to blame the government in place and the US forces because they are the ones in control.
The view of Afghanistan people towards the United States forces only improved after the United States began to offer protection to the villagers and large communities in Afghanistan. Most of the Afghan nationals feel that the Taliban and their drug trade activities are promoting economic instability in the country which has led to the loss of jobs.
Most individuals especially the young, therefore, turn to crime when they have no means of supporting their livelihood. The drug trade has flourished in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran for a long time and the end of this trade might not be that easy.
The fight against drugs will take a lot of effort from international and local players so as to ensure that the cultivation and selling of opium which has brought with it many negative vices such as insecurity, corruption in government and the loss of many lives comes to an end.
There have been cases of Afghan police officers and military officials being caught in possession of high grade heroin. But this is not a surprise given the high levels of corruption in the government and the low salaries that the government officers are usually compensated with (Weinberg, Pefahzur & Perliger, 2009).
The research material for this study will be derived from already existing material from government journals, editorials, periodicals, books and other reliable sources that exist on the topic. Research studies that have been conducted on this area will offer a great insight into the needed material to carry out the study.
The listed resources will be used because they are reliable and it is expected that the information would be valid. Interviews will also be conducted on former and serving NATO personnel that have served in Afghan and have had close contact with the Taliban and they have first hand information concerning the Taliban and the drug war in Taliban.
Any individuals that might have migrated to the United States from Afghanistan on whatever grounds will also be interviewed especially if they have lived in the South and south western regions of Afghanistan where the drug trade is very successful (Rollins, 2010). Depending on the availability of these individuals, they will be issued with questionnaires which have oral or telephone interviews to gather information from them concerning the drug war continuing efforts in Taliban.
Statistics from the government such as from government agencies will also be collected and included in the presentation of the results because the government is a reliable source of information. The Taliban has claimed that their financial success should be credited to the commitment that they have for Allah.
There are many individuals even those that are in government that had vowed to ensure that the Taliban would be stamped out of the country after they had witnessed their actions which are merciless and greedy because the organization started out by taxing people for protection fees (Barfield, 2010).
Once the organization got into the opium business, they seemed to abandon their origin mission and concentrated in growing and distribution of opium especially into other parts of Afghanistan and into other surrounding regions. Most of those that had vowed to stamp out the activities of the organization have now fallen victim to the payroll of the Taliban.
This has left the people of Afghanistan with no one to offer them security or hope that their lives might ever get back to normal. For opium farms that are not owned by the Taliban, the owners of the farms have to pay taxes to the Taliban.
Retail shop owners are also expected to pay taxes to the Taliban or risk being blown up. There have been reported cases of individuals that have been blown up because they did not pay taxes that were expected of them. The opium trade is so rife especially in rural areas in the South and south western areas that cash is usually not use and trade for opium is made with property such as luxury vehicles which would be more of use in comparison to the cash (Qassem, 2009).
Data from the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) showed that Afghanistan produced approximately 185 metric tons of opium in the year 2001 only (Afghan opium Survey, 2008). The level of cultivation of opium rose from 2001 especially in South and South Western regions of the country where the security levels were low. In these regions, most of the villagers had already become used to getting attacked by the Taliban and other insurgent groups involved in the drug trade.
By the end of 2009, most of the opium in Afghanistan was grown in Southern and South western areas: Zabul, Nimroz, Uruzgan, Kandahar, Farah and Helmand. It is cited that other areas that were not involved in the growing of the crop was only because of the economic crisis and the poor weather that had led to a shortage of wheat, hence, making wheat more economical to cultivate and sell instead of opium.
Opium also presented the likelihood that might have dealt with illegal traders that were well known for being ruthless and whose sole goal was profit making (White, 2011). Farmers who lived in areas that were easily accessible also opted to plant wheat due to the fact that individuals in Pakistan needed wheat thus making it a product that was in high demand without the complications associated with opium cultivation and trade (United Nations, 2009).
From the research material that was gathered, it was clear that Taliban started out as a small militia group but they changed their mode of operation when they started cultivating and selling opium. Initially, Taliban used to enforce the Sharia law in ways that were so strict and extreme that other Muslim leaders did not agree with and publicly condemned.
The trade in opium started out with a small amount of financing to get the group in the business until recent times when the group had changed to mafia style of ruthless ruling especially in the South and South western areas of Afghanistan. The Taliban has been cited as being responsible for approximately 75% of all the people that died in 2009.
Taliban is one of the militia groups that have led to the decline in development in Afghanistan, political instability and corruption in the country (United Nations, 2009). This might take years to rebuild but it might still be possible.
Developed countries should unite to condemn the acts that are performed by the Taliban because they violate human rights. Those individuals that are apprehended and linked to the Taliban should be punished according to the crimes that they have committed as dictated by the law.
The paper has successfully looked at the literature that exists concerning the drug trade in Afghanistan and the influences of the Taliban which is the main militia group that controls the drug trade in the country.
Many lives have been lost as a result of the drug trade in the war, primarily because the funds that are obtained from the drug trade are used to fund terrorist activities all over the world.
As a result of the success of the drug trade in Afghanistan, there are many government officials that have been caught in these drug activities of accepting bribes so that they can offer protection to the drug lord. The drugs lords offer money to the corrupt officials and in exchange, these individuals are offered money so that they turn the other way as drugs are transported across borders and people are not allowed entry into areas where opium fields are located (Afghan opium Survey, 2008).
I would recommend that in order to effectively fight and win the battle against drugs and terrorism in Afghanistan, NATO should continue with its stay in the country while offering protection to the nationals especially those individuals that reside in the areas that have to be predominantly affected by the Taliban’s rule so that they can be able to carry out their business activities without being harassed like regular kidnappings for ransom or being charged high ‘protection fees’ that leave traders without profits to continue their business activities while still taking care of their families.
The United States government is in collaboration with other developed nations to come together in assisting the people of afghan to come up with sustainable development projects so that they can be able to be independent and support their families. This would also help to win back their confidence in helping to rebuild their nation.
Corrupt officials in the Afghan government that lead to the perpetuation of the drug war should be removed from office so that order can be restored in the area where lawlessness and illegal trade rules have been practiced.
Afghan opium Survey (2008). UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Retrieved from www.unodc.org/documents/crop- monitoring/Afghanistan_Opium_Survey2008.pdf.
Barfield, T.J. (2010). Afghanistan; A Cultural & Political History. Princeton: Princeton University press.
Qassem, A. (2009). Afghanistan’s Political stability. England: Ashgate Publishing.
Rollins, J. (2010). International terrorism & Transactional Crime. California: Diane Publishing.
Siegel, L. (2009). Introduction to Criminal Justice. Ohio: Cengage Brain.
Weinberg, L., Pefahzur, A. & Perliger, A. (2009). Political Parties and Terrorist Groups. New York: Routeledge.
White, J.R. (2011). Terrorism & Homeland Security. Ohio: Cengage
United Nations, (2009). Addiction, Crime and Insurgency. USA: United nations Publications.