The Corner

Opium Wars

Perhaps (he says, removing his tinfoil hat) it is too much to say that the UN’s sudden interest in combating opium production in Afghanistan is deliberate sabotage of allied efforts over there, but take a look at what the troops on the ground have to say:

’The guys have been out there, building relationships with local people that brings in crucial intelligence and keeps us safe. If the same guys start kicking down doors and reporting on ordinary people who are just trying to earn a living in difficult circumstances, then they are not going to see us as friends anymore,’ one soldier, recently returned from Afghanistan, told The Observer.”

Needless to say, the US drug warriors (to whom the war on Islamic terror is evidently of very secondary importance) don’t see things that way:

“‘We believe that if there is a heroin poppy that needs to be eradicated, we shouldn’t be picking and choosing, we shouldn’t be waiting for an alternative revenue stream to become available,’ Robert Charles, the Assistant Secretary of State for international narcotics, told a Congress committee recently.”

Talk about digging a deeper hole.

If it is felt necessary to do something about Afghan opium production, a much better policy would be for the US/UN to buy up the crop (bought direct from the farmers, it wouldn’t be expensive), and then either destroy it or use those naughty poppies for ‘legitimate’ pharmaceutical use. Doing so would put money into the local economy and disrupt the narco-trade. The current policy, by contrast, will end in disaster.

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