One of the facts that you don’t hear so often about the War in Afghanistan is the role that drugs played. Prior to the war, Taliban theocrats had actually banned the drug because it was “un-islamic” (or to drive up demand, depending on who you ask). But after the invasion, Afghanistan had many record-setting years in a row.

Currently Afghanistan supplies 90% of the world’s opium, and more hash than any other country. While opium exports dropped in 2009 (just like every other commodity exported worldwide that year), the problem is still enormous. Despite record drug seizures, the us forces estimate they’re only getting about 2%, and are beginning to see violent reprisals.

The question of military involvement is also being raised in more serious ways. British military police are now investigating claims that British troops have been using military aircraft to ship the drug out of the country.

This is not to say there’s a massive conspiracy at work. But there doesn’t have to be. Heroin serves many basic capitalist goals – requiring people to work many hours for overpriced, addictive narcotics. Bankers and generals don’t have to tell people to grow opium or traffic heroin because they know they will. They simply need to create an environment (like a war) that makes it possible. Like dead civillians, crippled infrastructure and massive public debt, this heroin explosion is a direct result of the choice to go to war in Afghanistan.