Well known for being one of the most impoverished and dangerous countries in the world, Afghanistan has suffered through many tragic events leading to its current state of turmoil. For decades, it has been the battleground for countless wars resulting in a corrupted and disheveled country. This has led to Afghanistan being dependent on the cultivation of opium and distribution of heroin as a source of economic "stimulus." With "opium and drug production and trafficking accounting for "more than a third" of the nations income, Afghanistan has become reliant on the drug trade to provide jobs and to fund the economy (Maguet and Majeet, 2010, p. 119). This leads to the question, what triggered Afghanistan to be one of the world's greatest opium supplier and how are they able to continue to as the major world provider? With billions of dollars being put towards security against opium cultivation, the lack of governance, the farmers' motives, and the economic incentives keeps Afghanistan at the top of opium market.
Opium Production Boom
Beginning with the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, Afghanistan went through a decade of conflict with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics leaving them in a state of recession. The war essentially halted their economic growth and development leading to a crippled government and workforce that has continued on to this day. With the loss and displacement of much of their institutions, homes, and citizens, the country was basically left with nothing. Consequently, the majority of the population became jobless and homeless. This is where the production of opium and heroin comes into the picture, as it was seen as an opportunity for the common person to make a living. Although poppy cultivation was traditionally grown prior to the Soviet colonization, these conflicting events led many farmers to picking up the opium trade as it was a highly profitable cash crop compared to other conventional crops. The fall of the government also gave way for other forces to gain power in the country. These militants took advantage of this authority and forced farmers into growing this new cash crop. Supplying opium to the Afghanistan population, soldiers, and its neighboring countries allowed the Afghan resistance to fund for the war, as well as provide jobs to the general public.
After the Soviet-Afghan war ended in 1989, various coalition forces, such as the Mujahideen warlords, Al-Qaida, and Taliban, began to fight for control of the country resulting in two back-to-back civil wars. Opium production kept rising at a annual rate of 15% as it was needed to help finance the economy and the military. When the Taliban took control in the mid 1990s, they forced farmers to continue production until 2001, where there was a sudden 99% reduction in opium cultivation (Beyrer, 2011). Taliban enforcement and the banning of opiates drastically cut down opiate output, but it was short lived as it skyrocketed again the following year when...