Guess who’s the biggest player in Afghanistan’s heroin trafficking business? None other than the president, Hamid Karzai:
Drawing almost entirely upon sources within the U.S. government in Washington, the Times fingered Ahmed Wali Karzai as the biggest drug trafficker in Kandahar Province.
Why was this story not reported from Afghanistan? Because it is well understood by the journalists who cover Afghanistan that reporting on the connection between Karzai and the drug trade is a good way to get you (the Western journalist) thrown out of the country and all your local staff either killed or thrown in prison. For quite some time now, major Western news sources have been struggling to figure out some way to both report the story while at the same time ensuring the safety of their local staffs. (Talk about ethical dilemmas…) The New York Times was the first to find the solution by filing a report that drew primarily upon sources within the DEA and the Department of State but not to a significant degree upon the reporting of its staff in Afghanistan.
I think it’s safe to say that no serious attempts to eradicate the heroin trade will be made while Karzai is in charge. I guess it’s just as well that the war on drugs isn’t a good idea anyway.