The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts, by Michaela Whitton

This is one of those articles that’s tough to read, which is why it should be read. Heroin-addicted children are some of the collateral damage of US intervention in Afghanistan the last 15 years. From Michaela Whitton at theantimedia.org:

(ANTIMEDIA) One of the many catastrophic legacies left behind by the longest war in U.S. history is that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. As with most parts of the world, the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price of war, and the country has faced a harrowing escalation in the number of child heroin addicts.

“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history,” Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now back in 2014.

Adding that all levels of Afghan society are involved in the flourishing trade — which became undeniably worse after the U.S.-led invasion — Aikins accused both the Taliban and government-linked officials of profiting from the crisis. He claimed the U.S., in its quest for vengeance against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, not only cooperated with warlords but ignored corruption by criminals whose human rights abuses created the conditions that led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place.

As a result, Afghanistan now produces twice as much opium as it did in the year 2000, and the booming trade now accounts for 50% of the country’s GDP. Since the cartels began refining their poppy harvests into addictive and profitable heroin, the street price for “powder,” as it is known, is the cheapest in the world — and it costs less than food in the war-torn country.

Lost childhoods

The psychological damage of war, together with the flood of cheap heroin, has led to a doubling in addiction rates over the last five years. In the Channel 4 documentary, Unreported World, Ramita Naval explores a harrowing escalation in child addiction. In the ravaged country, where access to drug treatment is severely limited, she visits a rehabilitation centre where children as young four or five — haunted by horrors they have witnessed — attempt to regain lost childhoods.

To continue reading: The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts

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