Boom times for opium cultivation in Afghanistan

Local poppy farmers harvest the opium sap from the bulb of the plant during a ten-day harvesting period May 31, 2011 in Fayzabad, Badakhshan, Afghanistan.

Opium poppy cultivation has hit a record high in Afghanistan, the United Nations reported today. The area where the deadly cash crop is produced grew to 516,000 acres.

The BBC’s David Loyn says international aid money inadvertently ends up fueling the opium industry, which is believed to represent a quarter to a third of the entire Afghan economy. For reference, opium represents about 2 percent of Colombia’s economy.  

“It’s a pretty big failure for the international community if stopping Afghan opium was one of the reasons for coming to this country,” Loyn says.

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Although eradication of the drug trade is an obvious goal to establishing a stable, government founded on the rule-of-law, and became a goal once the Taliban government was removed as a collorary to establishing a new stable government, it was not one of the original reasons why we went to Afghanistan. There was one reason we went to Afghanistan: To go after the 9/11 mastermind and leaders.
Removing the taliban government and establishing a rule-of law government was the second follow-on goal. Eradicating the opium trade grow as a tirciary reason from establishing a stable government. It was not an origianl reason.

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