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Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:37PM

America came to Afghanistan to stay. It will draw down its forces, but permanent occupation is planned. As far as the opium plantings... they will keep going as long as America has any control of the country."
An analyst says the Taliban had eradicated poppy fields prior to 2001 and so Washington plans permanent occupation of Afghanistan to maintain control of its opium empire. In the background of this the United Nations has advised that opium cultivation in Afghanistan has increased for the third year in a row. The report said poppy cultivation was highest in regions where US-led troops had been stationed over the past years, which is mostly in the southern parts. Last year Afghanistan supplied about 75 percent of the global supply of heroin, a derivative of opium, which is expected to jump to 90 percent this year due to the increased cultivation. Press TV has interviewed Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host, Chicago about this issue and who is behind it all. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview. Press TV: The issue here is who is responsible for this increased poppy cultivation. Is it the Taliban militants; is it the foreign forces; is it the weak Afghan government? Lendman: There is no question who has responsibility for what’s going on. Washington has responsibility; the major banks in New York, Wall Street banks have responsibility. The US government conspires with them. The banks launder the money. America reinstituted the planting of poppy fields. The Taliban, while they ruled the country, largely eradicated opium production. This was one of the reasons that Washington invaded Afghanistan, to reestablish the heroin trade. There have been previous UN reports that said Afghanistan, if you can believe this, produces more than 100 percent of the world’s supply. The CIA is deeply involved. It uses drug money to finance its operations. This is the dark side of the heroin trade, the opium replantings. It has nothing to do with the Taliban. It wanted it eradicated, but you’ll never hear this type of report in the US media. Press TV: We’ve got the Afghan government saying that in some areas where they want to tackle this issue the Taliban militants are not letting them. Do you think that the Afghan government is adamant in trying to eradicate this action, but it can’t because of the Taliban’s involvement in it? Lendman: Absolutely not. Hamed Karzai is a former and probably still likely a CIA asset. He was closely tied to Union Oil Company so he has oil interests. America installed him as president. He is widely despised by the great majority of Afghan people. He’s deeply involved in corruption. Most of the drug money though does not stay internally, it leaves the country. It goes to the major banks to launder; it goes to the CIA; it goes to the drug barons and three or four or five billion dollars stays in Afghanistan. And the Afghan Karzai-led government takes full advantage, they steal as mush as possible. This is pretty widely accepted. Press TV: We know the date for withdrawal is nearing for foreign forces, although not all of them are expected to withdraw, but do you think that with this withdrawal we are going to see a change with these figures in poppy cultivation at least in the near future? Lendman: America came to Afghanistan to stay. It will draw down its forces, but permanent occupation is planned. As far as the opium plantings, absolutely not, they will keep going as long as America has any control of the country. And the ordinary Afghan people and other people in other countries around the world will suffer most. SC/JR