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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Another "Victory" for the Drug War--Afghan Poppy Production At Record High

The U.S. is losing the “war on drugs” in Afghanistan, with more than $7 billion invested in counternarcotics efforts since the fall of the Taliban yet poppy-growing at an all-time high. 
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction issued a report today detailing how the opium suppliers are flourishing thanks to better farm technology and more arable land, defying wipeouts from agricultural disease and interdiction programs to produce bumper crops.

Most of the prime poppy-growing areas have been in the southern half of Afghanistan, with pockets of high cultivation potential east of Kabul toward the Pakistan border. New cultivation regions have popped up in the northern part of the country near the borders with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and 200,000 hectares of desert in the southwestern part of the country has blossomed into arable land thanks to affordable irrigation from deep-water wells, SIGAR noted.
 
In 2013, Afghan farmers grew 209,000 hectares of opium poppies — a record high with the previous peak, 193,000 hectares, reached in 2007.
As I've said repeatedly before,  the "nation building" experiment in Afghanistan was a mistake. Our involvement should have been limited to a punitive expedition to destroy Al Qaeda, repeated as necessary, but with no permanent presence.

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