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Are British Troops Really Drug Smugglers?

Recently, British troops in Afghanistan have been accused of trafficking heroin using military aircraft. With 90% of the world’s opium – which is used to make heroin – coming from Afghanistan, it is not hard to imagine that the claims could have merit. Certainly there is money to be made by smuggling drugs, and with military security focused more on protecting troops than enforcing drug laws, it is believable that some troops could take advantage of that fact. Of course, the accusations could be being made by a party with ulterior – perhaps anti-war – motives as well. In any case, the news provides an opportunity to consider why British troops are in Afghanistan at all.

Peace Vs. Profit

As western countries like the U.S. and Great Britain conduct the war in Afghanistan, they usually claim that they are trying to restore peace and stability to the region. This is partially true. Afghanistan is like the Wild West compared to civilized countries. With millions of dollars to be made by producing heroin, warlords and their allies battle for supremacy. Though a government does exist, it is riddled by corruption. The irony is that even if Western forces succeeded in bringing stability to Afghanistan, the new government would probably devolve into anarchy. Consider Mexico’s situation. With so much money to be made from the drug trade, even a “civilized” country like Mexico cannot prevent the existence of powerful drug organizations. Do western countries know this? Certainly. They persevere in Afghanistan because they know that even a slight increase in stability will pave the way for American corporations to make money in the country. And of course, politicians are usually beholden to several of these companies that have contributed to their campaign funds. So the war persists with this profit-based, limited view.

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