The United States invaded Afghanistan over eleven years ago. Men and women who were seven and eight years old are now enlisting in the military. Some of them will end up walking the streets and trails of that faraway land before their enlistments are up. Even if the Obama administration keeps its pledge to withdraw 34,000 US troops in the next year or so, there will still be rotations and special forces in and out of Afghanistan for years if Washington’s plans are not derailed.
Likewise, the Afghan opium trade will continue. Regarding that trade, questions often arise concerning its relationship to the battle on the ground and the groups fighting that battle. As those who watched the Soviet military disintegrate in Afghanistan during the 1980s will remember, news stories occasionally appeared in the US media that mentioned the growing rates of drug addiction and use among Soviet conscripts. These mentions usually occurred in relation to the US desire to “make Afghanistan the Soviets’ Vietnam.” After all, the rampant drug use among American conscripts during its war in Vietnam was well documented. Despite apparent Pentagon efforts to hide the fact, some US soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan certainly take advantage of the opium and marijuana products produced in Afghanistan. However, the Pentagon seems more concerned with prescription drug and steroid abuse by its troops. However this doesn’t mean there is no US interest in the Afghan drug trade