by DAVID AXE
Afghan poppies — easy to grow and transport in the country’s harsh conditions — account for a majority of the world’s heroin. The poppy biz, concentrated in southern Afghanistan, pours more than $50 million into Taliban coffers, per year. The U.S. government has pursued an eradication policy, sending American drug-enforcement agents and Afghan police to destroy field. Under George W. Bush, Washington insisted that eradication was the only way to combat a rapidly expanding drug culture.
That resulted in clashes with the Dutch forces (pictured) that occupy key poppy regions. “There was concern that it might crosscut other activities focused on security and development,” a U.S. eradication official said, of the Dutch. Amsterdam worried that eradication — besides being logistically impractical — was only angering impoverished farmers, and driving them into the Taliban’s arms.
Turns out Barack Obama agrees with the Dutch.
As part of its revamped Afghanistan strategy, the Obama Administration will cease eradication, and instead boost funding for alternative crops, including almonds and saffron — and also boosting efforts to interdict Taliban drug smugglers.
(Photo: David Axe)
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