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BBC: All The Reasons for Growing Opium in Afghanistan

Not to be missed this week’s BBC Radio4’s “File on 4”, available in MP3 format at this link.

Although there is little mention in the programme’s download page, and in a small accompanying article written for BBC News site, journalist author Kate Clark explains in detail how and why to cultivate opium in Afghanistan has been for some years an entirely logical decision, if not the only option in some areas at least.

As soon as I’ll have time I’ll write a summary of Clark’s findings, but in essence: if the opium guarantees a safe monetary income, with buyers visiting the producers rather than the produces being forced to go to the market, if travel market is risky both because of road conditions and corruption at all levels including the police, if the opium is a commodity that never rots away; if the eradication campaigns always hit only the small producer with no political connections, THEN it become obvious why Afghanistan dominates the world production of opium.

The UN can try to pick the last flower, and destroy the last seedling; and NATO can attempt to link Afghan opium to the Taliban, Osama bin Laden or even to children snatchers and old grandma’s torturers, for all one cares; still if there is no effort on eliminating the underlying reasons, fields of Papaver Somniferum will still call in the thousands… and rightly so!

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