According to a Times Online report, Karzai has blamed the British forces for resurgence of Taliban. Karzai says British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has threatened him to withdraw British forces. Currently there are over 6,000 British soldiers stationed in Helmand, the biggest opium producing province, which, according to UN Office on Drug and Crime, contributes around 50% of world poppy production.
Karzai’s accusation seems to be a rebuttal to Gordon Brown’s statement that the Kabul regime has links with warlords and the drug trade. The real story behind Karzai’s accusation is that he plans to reinstate former Helmand Governor Sher Muhammad Akhundzada, who was dismissed under British pressure after British forces had found nine tons of heroin and opium from the Governor’s basement. He has also been backing Taliban fighters and drug gangs.
Why does Karzai want to reinstate a drug trader as Governor? Akhundzada’s successor, Muhammad Daud, a man strongly opposed to the Taliban, was appointed governor after British officials lobbied hard for him. However, Karzai soon dismissed him, giving in to the pressures of the Taliban and the druglords.
Karzai himself has ties to the international drug mafia. In an investigative report titled ‘Karzai’s Brother World’s Biggest Herion Supplier,’ the Daily Mail reported that Karzai’s brother and former governor of Farah Province, currently Head of Anti-Corruption Authority, Izzatullah Wasifi is a long-time druglord. Wasifi was arrested by the US authorities from Caesar’s Palace, a luxury hotel in California, in 1987, and imprisoned for three years.
After becoming president, Karzai appointed his brother as the governor of Farah Province. Later he was appointed as Chief of the Anti-Corruption Authority, with full authority to control heroin production and trade. According to the Daily Mail, after being appointed the Governor of Farah, Wasifi created a big network of drug traffickers, allying with four other governors.
Senior US counter-narcotics official Thomas Schweich, in a 7-page long article on New York Times, revealed that Karzai Government is deeply involved in protecting drug trade. According to Thomas Schweich, the most effective way of eradicating poppy is aerial-spray of herbicides, which Karzai has always opposed.
Thomas says “Jabar Sabit, former Attorney General, told me he has a list of more than 20 senior Karzai Administration officials who were deeply corrupt, tied to narcotic trade. Karzai had directed him, for political reasons, not to prosecute any of these people.”
Last year, Karzai rejected a US plan of spraying herbicides on heroin and poppy fields, saying it would harm fields. This was a pretense that he used to protect the drug trade and his brother’s mafia. It is now clear why Karzai blames the British for the Taliban insurgency. The fact is that British troops are keenly striving to eradicate poppy cultivation, and in their efforts, they have ocassionally obstructed Karzai and his druglords.
But it is beyond understanding why the Bush Administration, despite Thomas Schweich’s reports, do not pressurize — or even take action against — a narcotics supporting President. If not his ethnocentricism and double standards in public policy, the international community should at least notice his ties with the flourishing narcotics trade.