The PoliBlog

The Collective
Monday, October 8, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT:
U.S. Renews Bid to Destroy Opium Poppies in Afghanistan

But officials said the skeptics — who include American military and intelligence officials and European diplomats in Afghanistan — fear that any spraying of American-made chemicals over Afghan farms would be a boon to Taliban propagandists. Some of those officials say that the political cost could be especially high if the herbicide destroys food crops that farmers often plant alongside their poppies.

The fact is that there are choices to be made over the priorities in Afghanistan (i.e., drugs and the Taliban/terrorism) and that the situation continues to be a problem (and a problem that the US government isn’t necessarily dealing with well). It would seem that the better route would be to avoid creating recruitment opportunities for the Taliban, especially given the simple fact that while crop eradication programs can and will reduce the amount of poppies under cultivation, the record of such programs show that it will not have a substantial effect on the drug market itself.

And, of course, this is linked to the Colombiazation of Afghanistan:

One well known supporter of glyphosate as a counternarcotics tool is the American ambassador in Kabul, William B. Wood, who arrived in April after a four-year posting as ambassador to Colombia. There, Mr. Wood oversaw the American-financed counternarcotics program, Plan Colombia, which relies heavily on the aerial spraying of coca, the raw material for cocaine.

Mr. Wood has even offered to have himself sprayed with glyphosate, as one of his predecessors in Colombia once did, to prove its safety, a United States Embassy official in Kabul said.

Regardless of Ambassadors who don’t mind being sprayed with Roundup, the CIA and Pentagon are telling the White House that crop eradication programs could have serious security implications.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: War on Drugs, Afghanistan | |

1 Comment »

  1. […] find ourselves in, then the piece is very much worth a read (for example: here, here and here). Sphere: Related Content Filed under: War on Terror, War on Drugs || […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » More on Poppies, Afghanistan and US Policy Choices — Wednesday, October 10, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

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