Opium back in Afghanistan | AspenTimes.com

Opium back in Afghanistan

Dear Editor:In the year 2000, Afghanistan produced no opium for sale on the world’s market. Today, according to figures recently published in Newsweek and several newspapers, it now produces 70 percent of the world’s supply and is flooding the market and bringing down the price. This may be good news for addicts, but it doesn’t do much for the rest of us. Under the Taliban, growing poppies was strictly forbidden. With the defeat of the Taliban, the country reverted to the rule of warlords and bandits, with the exception of a small area around Kabul, the seat of the American-installed government.The country people, mostly impoverished farmers, unable to make a living off their arid land, and so far not receiving any of the aid (irrigation wells, roads, and secure environment) promised by the United States, have resorted to poppies, a crop that requires little irrigation and grows well on poor soil. The local warlord protects them from any attempt by the government to stop this practice and, in return, gets a cut of the proceeds. A peasant who could at best make $2,500 a year from subsistence crops on his land, not enough to live on, can clear $7,500 by growing poppies.This is just another example of what happens when you start a war and do not finish it. Mr. Bush, please take note.D.R.C. BrownAspen

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