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.