The Corner

IS THE WHITE HOUSE SERIOUS ABOUT WINNING IN AFGHANISTAN?

Via the Daily Telegraph , more evidence that it’s not:

The Afghan government is to launch a campaign of herbicide spraying of opium poppy for the first time following intense American pressure for a more radical approach to the country’s burgeoning drugs problem…Spraying would allow eradication of the crop that dominates the world’s heroin trade to begin earlier than the cutting and ploughing of fields which has been hitherto performed by Afghan security forces. The eradication technique is widely feared by farmers and viewed with great scepticism within the international community. “Reducing poppy cultivation can only be done over the long term, but some in the US want quick, unsustainable results,” said one Western official. “There are many in the US administration who think that aerial spraying proved effective in Colombia. But they have a hell of a fight on their hands to convince the international community that it would be a good idea in Afghanistan.

“Quick, unsustainable results”. Where have we heard that before?

The story continues:

GBS is a stepping stone in some respects. It provides support for aerial spraying by allowing the US to say ‘we have tried everything else’.”A senior diplomat in Kabul said that spraying would be expensive and spur health scares and fears of wider contamination, potentially pushing farmers towards the Taliban. He added: “Aerial spraying would almost certainly be a disaster for Afghanistan given that poppy is grown in small portions of farmers already limited holdings. It would destroy legal crops more than illegal.” Nato and other Western officials are demanding four conditions to accept the introduction of spraying: an environmental assessment, security assessment, Afghan acceptance of the plan and a powerful public information campaign.With two months until eradication is due to start, one official said: “It’s not going well. There has been a very poor environmental assessment, no security assessment and the Afghans aren’t really on board.

Utter madness. Utter incompetence. Utter arrogance.

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