28 April 2012

Mujahideen Consolidate Power

Seeds of Terror by Gretchen Peters, 2009, Excerpts

As soon as the Soviet pullout had begun, agriculture and trade began to recover in the Afghan countryside. Much of the renewed production took the form of opium growing, heroin refining, and smuggling; these enterprises were organized by combines of mujahideen parties, Pakistani military officers, and Pakistani drug syndicates. Hekmatyar built up his forces into a conventional army and increased his involvement in the poppy trade. Hekmatyar launched a systematic campaign to wipe out his rivals in the resistance, butchering dozens of liberals, academics, and royalist politicians.

Mujahideen leaders competing for a stake in the new Kabul government turned their guns on each other as Russian forces began their pullout. The vicious civil war that erupted would continue into the 1990s, dividing the country and the capital itself into warring fiefdoms. Afghan commanders would come to depend ever more heavily on opium profits. Drug smuggling by the mujahideen had set up the preconditions for the complete integration of narcotics – and reliance on drug money – into the politics of the region.

The mujahideen forces reduced Kabul to a pitiable state of rubble and ravaged the countryside as they fought for dominance. Smuggling routes, before mainly limited to Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, now snaked up into Central Asia, where the Soviet Union’s collapse left a law enforcement vacuum and a population desperate for hard currency.

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