Disinfo: US intelligence involved in drug trafficking and other criminal activities in Afghanistan

Summary

In Afghanistan US intelligence has set up a network for illegal fund-raising through drug trafficking, extortion of guerrilla fighters for the passage of vehicles, and kickbacks on military contracts. Perhaps US spies are unhappy that Russian and US diplomats are jointly promoting talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.  Such negotiations threaten to put an end to this illegal fund-raising network.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. The article provides no evidence to support its accusations that US intelligence is engaged in drug trafficking or other illicit fund-raising operations in Afghanistan.

The article’s message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Afghanistan that seek to discredit the military and intelligence presence of the US and  its allies in the country. For example, pro-Kremlin media have claimed that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai called Russia to liberate his nation from US occupation; that the West and the US are ferrying Islamic State members to Afghanistan to use them against China, as part of a so-called “Anaconda ring”; or that NATO is denying the presence of terrorists in the country but the FSB has evidence of it.

Pro-Kremlin outlets continue to spread disinformation about US objectives in Afghanistan aimed at eroding Afghan public trust in U.S. security guarantees. Russia’s state media outlet Sputnik is a leading agent of such disinformation, as it operates a Dari-language website.

The US and its allies are, in fact, very much aware that the Afghan drug trade, a serious international security threat, has undermined reconstruction and security in Afghanistan  by financing radical Islamist insurgent groups and fueling government corruption in the country.

Read a similar case  of pro-Kremlin disinformation on Afghanistan claiming that NATO is responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Afghanistan, US
  • Keywords: Conspiracy theory, Drugs, Conspiracy, Sputnik

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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None of the JIT’s evidence is valid, all accusations are based on some articles in the media

In the trial of the flight MH17, the entire case against the Joint Investigation Team is drawn from digital media, from media in general because there is not a single piece of evidence that could used legally.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, aiming to discredit the criminal trial and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigated the case, collected evidence and reached clear conclusions: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system with one missing missile returned to the Russian Federation. On May 24 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. The fact that other investigators from the media and society also found evidence and uncovered the responsibilities of different persons in the chain of command that led to the tragedy, doesn't imply that the JIT didn't work or that none of the evidence is valid.

The West pursues a Maidan policy towards Belarus to encircle Russia

EEAS representative Peter Stano demanded that the Belarusian authorities release Siarhei Cikhanouski (Tsikhanouski) and other people. Hence, the collective West named its candidate for the Belarusian presidential elections. NATO countries love Cikhanouski for his participation in protests against modification of the Treaty on Union State between Belarus and Russia.

A number of media outlets, dozens of Telegram channels and other West-financed pro-Maidan structures pursue an information campaign against Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The West is fine with either keeping Lukashenka in power conditioned with his drifting to the West, or with the organisation of complete chaos in Belarus. Belarus has gained the larger attention of global actors after the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine. Washington is clear about its intention to encircle Russia with an “Anakonda ring”, i.e. to create a belt of adversary states under NATO’s control.

Belarus’s pseudo-neutral status covers up NATO plans to engage it into a military conflict with Russia. In the energy sector, the US plans to tear Belarus away from the Russian oil market. American oil companies extract oil in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan but Russia would deny its transit to Belarus through Russia’s territory. This will provoke strained relations and conflicts between them and Russia.

Disproof

This is mixture of conspiracies consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about NATO's belligerence towards Russia and other countries, Belarusian independent media and political opposition as Western-controlled and Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. Among other things, the publication mentions a long-standing conspiracy about West's anti-Russia "Anaconda ring" plan aimed to encircle Russia.

On 9 July 2020, EEAS representative Peter Stano indeed made a statement about the detention of popular blogger Siarhei Cikhanouski (Tsikhanouski) arbitrary and urging Belarus's authorities to release him and other activists. Nevertheless, it does not follow that the EU considers Cikhanouski as its presidential candidate as alleged. The claim that NATO countries praise his participation in protests against deeper integration with Russia is groundless.

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Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory consistent with recurring disinformation narratives about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations.

In the past, Western coutries repeatedly introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials for mass violations of human rights and electoral standards but they have not attempted to stage a colour revolution in Belarus or any other country.