Poppy, opium, and heroin that funded the insurgents and the cash-dry banks were principle reasons why the 150,000 armed-to-the-teeth foreign troops could not even make a dent in the resurgent Taliban over its almost 11 years' stay in Afghanistan. Is that going to be repeated in Northern Africa? It is not unlikely, since there are striking similarities between the Afghan situation after the U.S. invasion in 2001 and the French invasion of Mali with British help.
To begin with, as in the 1980s when the West created and nurtured hardcore terrorists, and called them Mujahideen, with the sole objective to defeat the invading Soviet troops, myriads of terrorist groups were nourished by the French, British, and the Americans in recent years to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. These terrorists are now in the forefront of Northern Africa's Jihad.
In Afghanistan, following the U.S. invasion, poppy, opium, and heroin production exploded, providing the banks and the Jihadis money to fight the U.S. and NATO troops. In Northern Africa, it is no different. No matter how valiant these Jihadis are, they became what they are because of the tons and tons of Colombian and Peruvian cocaine they peddle to Western Europe, providing cash to the bankrupt European banks.
According to the U.S. State Department Report of 2012 on Mali, "in recent years, however, foreign smugglers have begun to engage in trafficking of cocaine from South America through Mali to Western Europe. In 2009, a Boeing 727 aircraft crash-landed in northern Mali, where an undisclosed but by all accounts significant quantity of cocaine is purported to have been offloaded before the plane was abandoned. Mali has been authoritatively identified as one of the West African transit countries through which up to 80 percent of cocaine seized in Western Europe can be traced." The drugs will head to the coast of the Mediterranean. One popular route is up to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Mellilo.
An investigation by the United Nations drug-control agency has estimated that up to 2,200 pounds of cocaine is flown into Guinea-Bissau every night (!), and more arrives by sea. About 50 drug lords from Colombia are based in Guinea-Bissau, controlling the cocaine trade and bribing the military and politicians to protect it, the UN investigation found.
According to David Malone, a documentary film maker and owner of the website GolemIV.com, a number of banks are involved in laundering this drug money. One such is Ecobank, a pan-African bank with presence in 30 countries. Besides Ecobank, the South Africa-based Renaissance Direct Investment and the major Spanish banks, BBVA and Santander, could be in the loop as well, Malone said.