Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, April 30, 2007

Unconventional strategies suggested for combating Afghan opium

A lack of success in tackling Afghanistan’s serious opium problem has led to suggestions that new, unconventional strategies be utilized, BBC News reported from Helmand Province on Saturday.

As Helmand is expected to produce more opium poppies than ever this year, the strategy of helping farmers to switch to alternative crops such as wheat has not been as successful as hoped. The British Ambassador to Kabul, Stephen Evens, tells BBC News, “It will take time; I think the policy is right but it is not something that is going to deliver this year or next year. Ten or 25 years to have a serious impact on narcotics production and trafficking here, I think that would be realistic.”

For some, this timeframe is simply not satisfactory; Americans have suggested using aerial spray to destroy the fields, while other argue that legalizing and licensing poppy for medicinal usage could be the solution. British parliamentarian Tobias Ellwood says of the latter, “This would be a way to win over the hearts and minds of farmers and will deny the terrorists the money they’re getting for sale of heroin and opium. It will also help create a market so they can be moved onto other products as well.”
For the full article, click here.


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