The political economy of Helmand means one thing: opium. The poppy crop is what oil is to Kuwait. With Taliban activity increasing, American tactics have been to tolerate the drug barons and their allies the warlords as a buffer against infiltration. Officials in Kabul have distanced themselves from Britain’s obsession with destroying poppies, apparently rooted in Reid’s belief that narcotic demand at home can be stifled by restricting supply abroad. It is a policy of market regulation that the Americans have grimly failed to validate in South America.
Monday, January 30, 2006
By jingo, our brave boys are off to tame the Afghan
Simon Jenkins points out the utter futility of sending thousands more UK troops to Afghanisatan to "eradicate opium" when even the Americans have realised that it is the lesser of two evils in that country: