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An Anti-Drug War Myth


I was all set to talk up Cathy Young’s article on the drug war and terrorism when I saw that she repeats a discredited factoid: “The Taliban also profited from our war on drugs, receiving $43 million from the US government in 2001 for the purpose of eradicating Afghanistan’s heroin-producing poppy fields.” As Brendan Nyhan has pointed out, though, the aid in question was a) delivered in food, wheat, and commodities rather than money and b) distributed through humanitarian organizations, not the Taliban. When Colin Powell announced the aid, he made a special point of noting that it bypassed the Taliban.


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