Senlis Council produce yet another despairing report on poppy cultivation, heroin production and trafficking in Afghanistan
"In the past year (2007-2008), opium production in Afghanistan reached a record level, estimated at 8,200 tons of raw opium. Traffickers also refined much of the opium into heroin before exporting it. The Taliban-led insurgency supported by al-Qaida spread to new areas in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The level of terrorism, especially suicide bombings, set record
levels in both countries, hitting high-profile targets such as Pakistan’s most popular politician, Benazir Bhutto, and the Serena Hotel in Kabul. After six years of assistance to the Afghan government by the UN, NATO, the world’s major military powers, the world’s largest aid donors, and international specialists on all subjects, the expansion of both the illicit industry and the insurgency constitutes a powerful indictment of international policy and capacity."
"In Afghanistan, nearly a third of the economy and probably an equal percentage of the population depends economically on the opium economy. Drug production affects not just farm income. It affects the balance of payments, tax revenues (through imports), the rate of exchange, employment, retail turnover, and construction."
Counter-Narcotics to Stabilize Afghanistan: The False Promise of Crop Eradication by Barnett R. Rubin & Jake Sherman, Senlis Council April 2008
This paints a bleak picture of the program for poppy eradication and that any such program will takes many years , if not decades. This brief sentence sums up the whole desperate and futile campaign .... " .. law enforcement cannot defeat an elite consensus. And the elite consensus in Afghanistan right now is that foreigners have offered no credible alternative to the opium economy."
One remarkable fact (if true) is contained within a survey by Charney Research Page 12 .."
one out of seven respondents in poppy growing provinces and one in four in Helmand said they knew of farming families who had sold their children (most likely girls) in payment of opium debts as a result of eradication.
Farmers are advanced money "salaam" as a sort of futue contract on their crop, if this is destroyed b the US / NATO forces the debt stands.