Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, February 05, 2007

New path needed to stem Afghan opium production

Ninety percent of the world’s opium came directly from Afghanistan last year, according to The New York Times. An editorial in Sunday’s Times, argues that the current policy in place to combat the opium trade in Afghanistan is strikingly similar to the failed policies in Colombia, and this is reflected by the fact that the next U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan was formerly the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia.

The Times argues that the focus in opium eradication efforts needs to be on giving farmers another way to make money. As long as poverty remains a major problem, the drug trade will continue to flourish, providing money to pro-Taliban warlords, as well as pro-government warlords. Currently, the drug trade represents an estimated 35 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP, and if the shortsighted policies in place, which focus on security and short-term projects, are not transformed, there will not be any hope of fixing the situation.

To read the article, click here.


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