The US media rang alarm bells at the begining of
this year:'Drug money sustains Al-Qaida network'. With Osama as
poster boy, Al-Qaida is the catch word these days for mainstream
media in West.Because it sells.Fact of the matter,however, is:
it is not mere Al-Qaida that has sustained itself through drug
money.The entire network of Islamic fundamentalists engaged in
terrorist activities is sustaining itself, among other sources
of income, primarily through drug money.Besides Al-Qaida, according
to US own State Department,12 other terrorist organisations are
The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the post-Cold
war era has attracted a lot of attention worldwide. Often it
is a phenomenon seen as a political expression of Islam through
terrorist methods.The September 11 events helped 'globalise'
this impression.This actually is not true. The method of individual
terroism is not a common feature among all the currents of Islamic
fundamentalists. It in fact is one section of the Islamic fundamentalism
that has resorted to the violent means in the name of Jihad.
It is this Jihad branded section that has Osama as a logo. All
these Jihad brand fundamentalist groups have a common bond:Afghanistan.
And a common interest:drug trade.
It all started with war in Afghnaistan.The 1978
military coup in Afghnaistan, to be exact. The coup was engineered
and executed by communists. It brought the Peoples Democratic
Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) to power. The PDPA regime promised
democracy, land reforms, women liberation, education and a number
of progressive measures.Though democracy was the biggest victim
of the communists yet they implemented land reforms and and
other progressive measures including granting of women rights.
The Afghan clergy, constituting a big section of the feudal
class, was hit hard by land reforms.It took up arms to resist
the new reforms.The US lent help through Pakistan.Soviet Union
marches in to save the 'revolution'.The Carter administration
decides to give 'Soviet Union its Vietnam'. The strategy was
to launch a proxy war through an army of gurellias recruited
from across the Muslim world. This gurellias army was not under
a single command and control.There were seven Afghan commanders
leading their respective factions.The arms and training was
provided by CIA, and Pakistan's ISI. Money was flowing in from
'hidden sources'.One big source was drug money.Everything was
being done with CIA's aproval.Gulbadin Hikmatyar, one of the
seven Afghan commanders and chief receipient of US arms and
support, also became the chief drug dealer with his own heroin
At the end of Afghan war in 1989, these seven
groups were controlling a production of 800 tonnes of opium,
more than twice the annual national production of Pakistan and
At the begining of 'Jihad' in Afghanistan, opium
production of Afghanistan stood at 300 ton in 1982.Compared
to a decade ago, this was an increase by 200 per cent.Back in
1971, the opium production in Afghnaistan was hardly 100 ton.
But end of Jihad in 1989 was just begining of drug trade. The
'art' of drug trade was to reach state-of-the-art levels with
fundamentalists reaching new heights of power in Afghanistan
under Taliban .As the 20th century was reaching its end, the
opium production has reached 3,100 ton in Afghnaistan.It had
dropped from 4,600 ton in 1999 owing to dry weather.
Pakistan, Afghanistan's neighbour and base camp
for these freedom fighters-cum drug lords, was the immediate
victim and delineation of this Jihad by drugs phenomenon. Prior
to the Afghan war even until 1980, there was not a single registered
heroin addict in Pakistan.By 1989, the number of heroin addict
had reached 1.7 million.The figure has not gone down since.
As the last Soviet troops crossed the Ammu Darya
river into Soviet territory, the exit was celebrated at Langley
(CIA's headquarter) by CIA officials.Afghanistan was abandoned
from now on not merely by CIA but by the US adminstration as
well.The Frankenstien, however, created by the CIA i.e Messers
Al-Qaida &Co. refused to die by itself. On the contrary,
the robots manufactured by the CIA, programmed to Jihad, took
upon themselves to carry out Jihad wherever it was possible.
Phillipines, Bosnia, Chechneya,Kashmir. And not just the countries
of kafirs where Muslims were persecuted but also to Egypt,Algeria,
Saudia, Tunis and Sudan where the Muslim rulers were serving
the interests of USA.
The scope of Jihad had widened by now so did
the Jihad budget.Many monetary pipelines had also dried meantime.The
best possible and available option was to increase the dependence
on drug trade.
The new groups founded during this post-Afghan
Jihad period were almost entirely dependent on drug trade. Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is one such group.Namangani, the
IMU boss, is not just leading this Jihad outfit,but is also
upto his neck into narco-trade. In 1999, 600 IMU rmed gureillas
moved to Afghanistan with their families.The same year Namangani
met Osama bin Laden. The IMU was facilitated by Taliban on the
condition that IMU would help Taliban in their fight against
Northern Alliance. In return, IMU was facilitated by Taliban
to carry out its drug trade.IMU had its own labortories in Afghanistan.
Taliban , implementing the puritan Islam taht
forbids drugs, had no problem with opium as on the one hand,it
had become the major source of their income.They were earning
$20 million through Zakat ( Islamic tax) they had imposed on
opium growth. On the other hand, Taliban leadership had also
'Islamised' this 'un-Islamic' income by putting ban on hashish
as it was 'consumed by Afghans and Muslims', but permitting
opium as it was 'consumed by kafirs (unbeleivers) in the west
and not by the Muslims.'
This was nothing new.The Lebanese-based Hizbollah
had in early 1980s issued a fatwa (religious eddict) sanctioning
the drug trade,saying:'We are making these drugs for Satan America
and the Jews.If we cannot kill them with guns,so we will kill
them with drugs'.
The effect of Taliban-IMU drug nexus led to
tremendous increase in drug trafficking in Central Asian region.
According to Interpol, 60 per cent of Afghan opium was reaching
out through Central Asian route. Out of that, IMU is said to
have a share of 70 per cent in that drug trade. Namangani using
his network of members and links with Chechen fundamentalist
groups has perfected the art of drug trade in Central Asia.
What is true about IMU, is true about Kosova Liberation Army
(KLA) and other Muslim groups in former Yugoslavia.This aspect
has msotly gone 'unoticed'.It was embarrassing as the USA and
its allies were 'fighting' hand in hand with Al-Qaida and Iran
against serbia.The region has paid a big price anyway.
Of late, reports by Macedonian Interior Ministery
describe the nexus between terroist gropus and drug trade.Similarly,
Scottish authorities released a report claiming that Albanian
Islamist network have used at least $4 million in profits from
heroin ,sold in European cities in 2002 to purchase weapons
,including SA-18 and SA-7 surface-to-air missiles.One Western
intelligence report says that DM900 million had reached Kosovo
since the guerrillas began operations and half the sum was said
to be illegal drug money. The KLA was paying for weapons not
just through German Mark but by heroin as well.
As early as 1994, leading British daily,Guardian
, in its November 1, edition warned:'Albanian drug barons find
their way around the war.' The Guardian report echoed in European
press over andover again.Not just media but police investigations,
inluding an investigation by Swedish police, and reports by
Europen Union pointed out the connection between KLA and drug
trade.Later on, the National Liberation Army (NLA),a split from
KLA, got active in Macedonia.The purpose was not to protect
the Albanians but to keep control over the lucrative drug trade.
Today, the civile societies across the Muslim
world are held hostage by terrorist groups operating in the
name of Jihad.It is the same story from Egypt's Al-Jihad to
Uzbekistan's IMU.Not just the Muslim world.They have globalised
their Jihad.From Philipines to Kashmir and Israel to USA, they
have taken upon themselves the task of 'liberating' Muslim brethern
from kafirs.In the process, they have brought misery to both
Muslim world and its opressors. Drug is just one but very big
The tragedy of errors however is, Islamic fundamentalists
could develop drug trade only because of their close collaboration
with CIA. If the Al-Qaida & Co are guilty of running Jihad
by drugs, it was CIA that promoted Jihad by drugs.Its always
hard to judge who to blame: executiner of the crime or the planner.In
Jihad by drug case, only history will be able to make the final