Tag Archives: opium

Gee-Do They Grow Opium In Afghanistan?

During the past several years this blog has been urging an end to destroying opium crops in Afghanistan in order to win support of farmers. Apparently the unofficial word in the American military is to end the “eradication” program of destroying opium which has only resulted in gaining new support for the Taliban. General Stanley McChyrstal made it clear to everyone by emphasizing, “U.S. forces no longer eradicate.” At a time when drug lords kill American citizens in border areas, it is unusual to find pictures of American soldiers in Afghanistan walking past fields flush with the latest opium crop. Ironically, the government of Afghanistan is not thrilled with the new policy, but, they rarely receive enthusiastic support from their own people.

The basic argument of those who want to eradicate fields of opium is that the Taliban intimidate farmers and thus gain money to support their military activities. A simple solution is having the United States purchase the entire opium crop. Of course, an even better idea would be to legalize drugs in America and have the government handle selling of drugs. But, that is too logical for modern America.

Poppies For Sale Or Poppies To Destroy?

The reality of poppies in the lives of Afghans can not be ignored. Afghanistan has among the highest rates of opium addiction in the world and its poppy crop produces about 90% of all grown in the world. For years, the US and Coalition forces have discussed what to do about the fact that a high percent of Afghan farmers depend on their poppy crop in order to survive. Of course, the more poppies they grow, the greater the probability the Taliban will get a good slice of the profits. How does one deal with poppies?

One approach being currently used is to pay farmers not to grow opium and this apparently has helped in small ways, but for every farmer who doesn’t grow poppies there are bound to be others who see profit in simply expanding their own crop.
Another approach is continuing the current practice of raiding farms and destroying the crop. All this does is anger thousands of farmers and helps the Taliban to recruit new soldiers.
A third approach might be to simply purchase the entire Afghan poppy crop and cut the Taliban out of the process. Of course, this only makes sense if there is an organized program to deal with opium addiction in Afghanistan. We opt for choice three, it makes sense and offers the possibility of long term results.