27 April 2012

Opium and Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War: 1979-1989

Seeds of Terror by Gretchen Peters, 2009, Excerpts

The United States and Saudi Arabia were the central donors to the Afghan resistance, providing matching annual funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Britain, China, and various Europeans nations also contributed. All the money was funneled through the ISI, giving the Pakistan spy agency tremendous control over which commanders and parties would benefit.

If the emerging mujahideen links to the drug trade were troubling, more worrisome still were reports Pakistan’s military government was deeply involved, too. By 1984, 70 percent of the world’s supply of high-grade heroin was produced in or smuggled through Pakistan. There were widespread reports the covert pipeline run by ISI, which brought weapons and material to Afghan guerillas, was carrying vast amounts of heroin in the return direction.

The ISI controlled all traffic and inspected all cargo passing in and out of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s spy agency also closely monitored vehicles plying roads into Iran. A number of incidents suggested the existence of a major heroin syndicate within the Pakistan military. Officials at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan admitted they were aware of the rumors, but rarely followed them up, lest narcotics distract from the central focus.

ISI Coat of Arms

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