Seeds of Terror: Heroin and the Financing of the Taliban’s and al Qaeda’s Master Plans

Gretchen Peters, Author . St. Martin’s/Dunne $25.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-312-37927-8

Journalist Peters draws on 10 years of reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan for this important examination of “the nexus of [drug] smugglers and extremists” in the global war against terrorists. Citing firsthand testimony, classified intelligence reports and specialized studies, Peters builds a solid case for her contention that the “union of narco-traffickers, terrorist groups, and the international criminal underworld is the new axis of evil.” Ground zero is Afghanistan, where the rejuvenated Taliban depend on opium for 70% of its funds and there is “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in the drug trade. Peters argues that the failure to halt this money flow to terrorist networks is “the single greatest failure in the war on terror,” and warns that stanching the flood of drug money into terrorist coffers is essential. The author offers a less-than-convincing strategy to sever the link, including “military strikes against drug lords,” “alternative-livelihood programs” for small farmers, regional diplomatic initiatives and a public relations campaign. Prescriptions aside, Peters has exhaustively framed one of the thorniest problems facing policy makers in this long war. (May)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
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